It’s time to relocate the lunch boxes, see if the uniforms still fit, and start bathing regularly again. It must be time for return to school! Over the next week or so, households all over the state are going to be preparing for the return to face-to-face learning. Be it tidying ‘lockdown hairstyles’, getting out of pyjamas for the first time in weeks, or setting alarm clocks again, families everywhere are about to make a big change to what has been routine for a number of months.

So how are our children feeling about the transition back to face-to-face learning?

For some students it will be a welcomed return to ‘normality’, for others it will be a reluctant end to a slower-paced life, and for some it will be a tricky change of gears adapting to the new ‘normal’. But no matter the child, all students, to varying degrees, will need support and understanding as they navigate the changes that lie ahead.

How can we as parents help our children make the transition back to school?

A great starting point is to create some unhurried time together to talk about what lies ahead. Nothing beats an open conversation with a trusted adult. Grab a hot chocolate together and sit down to chat. Ask your child, regardless of their age, what they are looking forward to and what they are worried about when it comes to going back to school. Validate their feelings. It is OK to have some concerns. Then talk through what your child can do to address them. Perhaps they just need some questions answered or fears put to rest. Having some ‘worries’ is normal and once they are out in the open they can be addressed and hopefully leave your child excited rather than anxious.

Here are some other tips:

– Some students will be thrown by changes that have occurred on the College grounds while lockdown has been happening. If you think this might be the case, do a drive by the College and check out the new Kindy classroom and the progress to the Junior School playground. Note together any additions to landscaping or new signs that have been put in place.

– If your child will be wearing a mask to school, start practicing now and let them choose the one they are most comfortable in.

– Print out your child’s timetable for return to face-to-face and talk through it. Has anything changed? Are there any questions for their teacher?

Are morning and afternoon routines about to change? Would a visual tick-a-box on the fridge help guide your child? Perhaps a little reward system for the first couple of weeks will help motivate teeth brushing and bag packing again.

And finally, encourage opportunities for your child to re-connect with school friends so that they are excited about spotting each other in the playground that first morning back!

Time spent preparing your child now can make all the difference for that first day back on the College grounds and for the rest of the term. Here’s to a great Term!

Mrs Karen Buchanan / Middle School Support Coordinator