We know that going back to school after the long summer break can make many children feel anxious, and that is even more likely this year with them having spent months away from school and having lived through lockdown.
For some young people, the prospect of returning to school may be a difficult one for a number of reasons.
They may be feeling daunted at the thought of starting a new school, not having had the chance to visit it beforehand as they would have under normal circumstances.
Children may also have fears about bullying, keeping up with schoolwork, not being around to help family, or having experienced physical changes to their body over lockdown that may make them feel anxious and unsure about their appearance.
It is important that young people have the opportunity to talk to someone about how they feel – even if a path to resolution can’t be found straight away.
As well as speaking to trusted adults in their life, such as teachers and their own or friends’ parents, they can talk to our Childline counsellors, who are always here to listen to their worries and anxieties.
We also know that home isn’t always a safe place for children, and some may have had difficult and traumatic experiences, including being abused or neglected, during lockdown.
Such experiences can have a devastating impact on children’s health and wellbeing and can stop them from learning, with the effects lasting into adulthood.
Our helpline, which any adult can call if they are worried about the wellbeing of a child, saw a 40% increase in the number of referrals it made to police and local authorities in Scotland, throughout April, May and June, compared with the three months prior to lockdown.
There was also a rise in the number of counselling sessions held by Childline with children and young people about their mental and emotional health, with some talking about suicidal thoughts and self-harming.
Last month, we called on the Scottish Government to put children at the heart of the Coronavirus recovery plan and to ensure schools were ready to give support to all those who needed it.
This includes putting in place help for teachers to enable them to support children confidently, including training on child development science and how trauma can manifest in behavioural problems or poor emotional regulation.
The Scottish Government also needs to support recovery services across health, education and social care, to develop a coordinated plan to respond to what is likely to be an increase in need for therapeutic services.
Young people can get help from Childline at www.childline.org.uk or by calling 0800 1111 for free.
Any adults with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0808 800 5000.