Merseyside school mental health expert says its time to prepare your kids for return to class - The Guide Liverpool

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Merseyside school mental health expert says its time to prepare your kids for return to class

02/03/2021

There’s just under a week to go until the kids go back to school and while parents may be jumping for joy that Boris has finally rung the start bell, there will be concerns too, on all sides.

For while it might be an end to juggling home lessons with work – something that’s driven many mums and dads to distraction – and a welcome return to a normal education at last, there could also be worries from parents and pupils.

Jackie Lunt, Clinical Lead for Mental Health in Schools Team in Sefton, says it is essential that you help prepare your children for going back to school, to make sure their emotional wellbeing and mental health is protected.

She says it’s important to find out how your child is feeling about returning to the classroom so you can pre-empt any issues, and that may be a question to ask them now.

“Some children will be delighted to return,” she says, “and you can join with their excitement about all the things they are looking forward to. 

“But for children who express concerns, do your best to give an age appropriate response.

“Children may have concerns about issues of safety, so offer reassurance about how the teachers and the other school grown-ups know what to do to keep everyone safe in school.

“Or maybe mention their part in this, such as hand washing and social distancing in schools.”

Jackie says parents can consider asking more open questions to start a conversation, for example:

“Is there anything I need to know about you going back to school?”

or

“Is there anything your teacher needs to know about you going back to school?”

If your child tells you about something they feel their teacher needs to know, then you can ask if he or she wants you to talk to their teacher or whether they feel okay about doing it themselves, explains Jackie.

“If your child does not have an answer to these questions it may be worth saying that you will let them think about it and ask again in a few days’ time.

And Jackie says: “Let your child know that you are available to talk about their return to school if they would like to.”

For children who are concerned, Jackie says:

* Talk through the school day with them

* Remind them how well they used to do before lockdown.

* Reassure them: ‘They may be keen to know who will drop them off at school and pick them up when they return.’

And she stresses schools are prepared for the journey back to normality: “Schools themselves are mindful that it may take some time to support all children to return to a psychological state where they can learn.”

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