For those of us with school age children the lockdown period has had many highs and lows. The tears when the schools closed their doors for an indefinite period of time, the sense of bewilderment as we tried to take up the role of parent and teacher, spending more family time together than we’ve had in months and years, baking lopsided cakes, camping in the garden and going for walks to look at rainbows in the windows. In our house there has been a lot of noise - laughter, frustration and yes- sometimes arguments. Time seems to have slowed down and sped up all at the same time - with days ending before they’ve even begun as we attempt to squeeze in ZOOM calls alongside BBC Bitesize and lesson plans.
And now we’re approaching a time when we may need to send our children back to school. For many of us we feel conflicted, it may mean we find it easier to concentrate on work but we will have worries about how safe our children will be and what school life will be like for them now. Will they slot straight in or are we going back to square one? Have we taught them everything they need to know or will they struggle? Will they pick up their friendships again or will they miss us?
Kidscape will continue to be there for children and families.
Here are our thoughts on how we can all start to prepare for the return to school:
- Acknowledge our feelings - all of them. There are conflicting emotions and it’s okay to experience all of them. We felt loss the days the schools closed and we’ll feel loss again as we send our children back. It’s okay to cry and to laugh and it’s vital we share these feelings with other people and be honest about our struggles.
- It will be bumpy. This isn’t going to be a smooth ride. We’ve all been through a traumatic experience - for some this will have been harder than others, particularly those who have lost loved ones or have been caring for others, those who have experienced or witnessed violence and those who have experienced prolonged loneliness. We can expect to have good days and bad days and will need to show huge amounts of compassion and patience with one another.
- We all need time. Some children (and adults) may appear to bounce straight back, but for most of us it will take time and patience. It’s hard to rebuild relationships and trust, especially when you are younger. Our children will need reassurance that it will get better and they will need support from parents and teachers to rebuild their relationships and their confidence.
- There is hope. History shows us that the most resilient are those who have hope in a force bigger than themselves- be it personal faith or love for others. There have been amazing moments of human compassion and solidarity during this time and it’s this we need to hold onto. Please believe that someone cares about you and your family.
If your child would benefit from additional support with managing relationships both now or in the future please sign up for our ZAP workshops. Parents and carers can also contact our Parent Advice Line for support.