With children having returned to school last week, along with some secondary school senior pupils for practical work, many parents will be relieved at the prospect of less homeschooling.
And with the rest of the school population expected to return next month, there will be an opportunity for some sense of normality again.
However, there will be some children and young people who feel anxious about returning to school full-time. They may feel nervous about being out of the house with the pandemic still ongoing or feel worried about how they have kept up with their peers with school work. Others may be suffering from the impact of lockdown on their mental and emotional health or have experienced bereavement.
Whether your child is already back at school in some capacity or is still due to return, it’s always a good idea to check in with them and ask how they are feeling. Any changes in their usual behaviour could suggest that they are suffering from anxiety.
For example, they may be withdrawn, tearful, quieter than usual or lose their appetite. And in some cases, children may suffer from panic attacks, which can be very frightening for the child and those around them.
By speaking to them about how they feel, you can let them know that they will certainly not be alone in the way they are feeling and that you’re there to talk through their concerns. And if there’s something you don’t know how to respond to, be honest and let them know that you will find out and get back to them.
Whilst we help our children prepare for a return to school, it’s also vital that resources are in place to help support their mental wellbeing once schools are back up to full capacity. We know, from contacts to Childline and our NSPCC helpline, that many children have experienced harm behind closed doors, and will need help to recover from their ordeals.
It is important the Scottish Government puts emotional and mental health support at the heart of its educational catch-up plans to ensure no young person with negative experiences during the pandemic is left behind.
Childline is here for children, free and confidentially, on 0800 1111 or children can visit www.childline.org.uk and any adult worried about a child can contact 0808 800 5000 or email