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Getting Back into School Routines

A year in and out of lockdown has meant our children's usual routine has been more disrupted than ever before. You may have lots of questions about how schools will keep your child safe. You may have some worries about how they will get back into their school routines again.

School is still going to look and feel different from what your child was used to before the pandemic.

Lessons and school day routines will still be different. Your child may be attending lessons at different times and different days of the week. This is to make sure your child, you and the staff are kept as safe as possible.

‘Home schooling’ may have gone really well for you and your children or it might not have worked out as well as you hoped. Don’t worry about what your child has missed out. You have done your best at a very difficult time for everyone.

Schools will be sensitive to pupils needing to settle back into school life. They will pace the amount of work they give to your child. They will make sure your child gets any help they need to get on track. If you or your child have any worries speak to school for some reassurance and advice.

  • If family routines have been more ‘relaxed’ during lockdown now is a good time to get back to them;

    • Establish usual bedtimes and getting up times.
    • Have meals at regular times to ease back into the pattern of the school day.
    • Start sorting school uniform and equipment it’s worth checking they haven’t grown out of things in advance!
    • Have something that you 'always' do together each day. It could be a walk after breakfast, or a jigsaw or colouring in the evening. Having some special time together gives your child the space and time to talk.

    Getting prepared and following routines are all ways of getting your child used to the idea of returning to school soon.


  • It can help your child if you share any information that you have from school with them. Talk to them about how they will be kept ‘safe’.

    • Remind them that most people who get COVID-19 have a mild illness and get better quite quickly and that it is very unusual for children to become seriously unwell with the virus.
    • Talk to them about what they can do to stop the spread of the virus like washing their hands well and regularly. *Click here* to look at a video about how to wash hands. 
    • Talk about social distancing with your child.
    • Try not to talk about your own worries and anxieties. It might make it hard for them to feel confident about safety.
    • Give them time to ask questions they might have. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer agree that you will find out the answer together.

    Listening to your child’s worries is important. It might not seem like anything to worry about to you, but understanding it is a concern to them will let them know that you take their feelings seriously. Feeling listened to helps your child have a sense of safety and security.

    • ‘Being behind at school is worrying for you, how could we make it feel better?' Make a plan of what they can do to help themselves ‘How about we look though the work school sent through and you can make a list of what you are not sure about.’  
    • Think about who else they could ask for help too. ‘We could email your teacher and tell them about the bits you find hard?’

  • Children look to their parents and carers for reassurance. If they see you struggling with worries and that you are disorganised or stressed – they are likely to feel this as well.

    Let your child see you taking steps to mange your worries and stress in a positive way.

    • Get good information and focus on what you can control.
    • Let them see you being calm and making realistic plans.
    • Use relaxation techniques, eat well and exercise to role model good ways of coping.

    This will really help your children feel like you can cope and keep them safe. They will be able to ‘catch’ your healthy coping habits too!

    You may be struggling with your own mental health. Getting support for this can really help you and your child.

    If you feel like you need some support to manage your own mood or anxiety then there is now a Norfolk wide 24/7 helpline *here*. They can provide immediate advice, support and signposting for people with mental health difficulties.

    You can also get good information from the following websites;

  • If the return to school is causing your child stress and anxiety that is hard to cope with and getting in the way of them being able to enjoy life, talk to school in the first instance.

    Watch the video below for tips about returning to school.

    You can call Just One Number to talk to a health professional or there are some useful helplines below;

    • SHOUT - text 'Shout' to 85258 for 24 hour crisis support by text - available 7 days a week.
    • Childline - Young people under 19 years old can call 0800 1111 for free support.
    • Young Minds Parent Helpline - Call 0808 802 5544 free of charge Monday-Friday from 9.30am-4pm.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.


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