How to get comfortable with your children returning to school


With many children returning to school in England today after what has been a historic shutdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many parents are grappling with mixed emotions. The latest BBC article (click here) finds that not only are parents feeling apprehensive about the return, but children are too, some stating they feel anxious and others feeling nervous but excited.

We recently recorded a podcast with Emma Gleadhill, an educational specialist with a private practice coaching parents and teens, about the challenges surrounding the return to school.

You can find  some of the key points discussed in the podcast below together with our top tips – ranging from how best to help your children to regain a learning mindset to future proofing your children against a possible second wave.

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Some Top Tips covered in our podcast:

Anxiety: Both parents and children may feel anxious about the return to school

  • Anxiety is contagious. Important that parents try to manage own anxiety.
  • Absorb the school’s Risk Assessment policies.
  • Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
  • Show great interest and curiosity in how your children are feeling about going back to school – keep showing that openness and willingness to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
  • Be alert to bad news stories – or incidents of illness within the family or extended family and friends.
  • Be confident and clear in communicating to children the practical arrangements and how the risks are going to be managed.

How best to help your children get back into a learning mindset:

  • Foster a wondering. Avoid the instant gratification of Google, Siri, Alexa.
  • Have a routine that isn’t too rigid, but which will satisfy various well-being needs.
  • Double down on healthy and sustainable sleep routines. Make sure your children are getting good quality sleep and lots of it.
  • Parents may have had an insight into lessons/teachers and the school structure and may feel better able to challenge their children and the school if things don’t seem to be going well.

Future proofing your children (surrounding the possibility of a second wave):

  • Be open about the possibility of a second wave.
  • Frame the thoughts and feelings around that.
  • Think about what we learned, what went well, what you’d want to do differently.
  • Talk about uncertainty – that it is a part of life. Think about what you can do to improve tolerance of uncertainty and change.
  • Develop a well-being routine that also factors in mental health – not just physical health.
  • Teach your children to learn how to access calm and down-regulate from worried and anxious states. Chronic stress and stress feedback-loops reduce the effectiveness of the immune system
  • Reinforce good hygiene standards at home. Make sure your kids have sanitiser, masks, gloves – whatever the school demands.

Please listen to our podcast for a more in depth discussion and for advice and guidance on how best to get comfortable with the return to school.

Click here to listen to the podcast. 

For further information or advice on any of the topics raised in this podcast, please contact any of our top London divorce and family lawyers at E: or T: 020 7420 5000.

Further information about how to agree arrangements regarding your children on divorce can be found on our dedicated website page linked below.