I almost daren't say this in case I jinx things but I can't believe we are almost at the point of the kids finally returning to school! I always view the impending new school year with a real mix of emotions. On the one hand excited for the kids to get back to their friends, their classes and a routine to their days (and definitely excited to be able to have more time myself to work on my business and get the house back in order!!) but at the same time feeling a little sad that a fun summer together creating memories is coming to an end.
This year, however, these feelings are heightened and amplified due to this crazy situation we still find ourselves in the midst of! I worked out the other day that when my kids go back to school it will have been 165 days since they last set foot in a school!! I cannot even begin to get my head around this and it strikes me that our children will need more support than ever to transition back into the school routines.
There has been a lot of talk about how academically some children may have been quite set-back by the time away from school but, for me personally, my focus will be firmly on nurturing my children's emotional well-being and their social development. They will have a lot to have to adapt to and things will not be 'back to normal' (whatever that may mean!) Their schools may feel a different place - not only will they be headed into new classrooms, and even new schools, but the things they are familiar with like assemblies, lunch in the dining room, music classes in the hall... may not be able to take place just yet! It's also been nearly 6 months since some of them have been asked to sit in one place for any length of time or focus and listen to teachers. There will still be the constant call for hand-washing, cleaning and trying not to get too close to each other - things that although have become a part of our daily lives can still bring about feelings of anxiety in some.
The children's friendship groups may also need to be-cemented and they may have to adapt somewhat to fit back in with their peers.
So as we begin that countdown these last couple of weeks of summer hols, whilst we may be ticking off the days until we can get a little bit of time for ourselves and be that bit more productive, I am reminded afresh to pause for a moment and think about what a big step we are asking our children to take and to be attentive to what they may need from me! Children may struggle to understand their emotions so anxiety can take on many different forms and I just hope that I can be there for them and support them to explore their emotions.
I am beyond grateful that the children will get to go back to spending their days with their friends and being supported in their learning by wonderfully trained and caring professionals but I am also mindful that they will need my support and my focus as they transition back to this.
If you're also looking to get the kids prepared practically for their return to the classroom then I've created this handy checklist:
You can view my whole range of back to school essentials here.