Tips for parents and caregivers – preparing your child to return to school 

Page last reviewed: 08 January 2021

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and up to date information here.

This section of our guide on returning to school after the coronavirus lockdown includes practical advice for parents and caregivers relevant for when children and young people go back to face-to-face learning.

Start talking 

Your child might have worries about the virus, restrictions in place or their education and school. You can explore these and help them to think of ways to manage them using our Time for Us pack or the resources on the Family Links website.   

Sleep routine 

Sleep is very important for your child’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as their development. Try and help your child build a healthy sleep routine which they can maintain whether attending school in person or not. Our guide on improving sleep could be a good place to start. 

Coping strategies

You use when feeling stressed such as speaking with friends or family, doing regular exercise or using breathing techniques. If you feel comfortable, you could share your own worries and feelings about the current situation and ways you are managing these feelings.  

Make yourself available as much as possible

Children may want to come and “debrief” but maybe not when you expect. Create space for talking in different ways, such as going on a walk together or baking together – there may be less pressure in these circumstances than when sitting face-to-face.  

Look at the positives 

It might be helpful to talk with your child about the things they have enjoyed during the pandemic and what they may be looking forward to, like their favourite shop reopening, seeing friends in the park or getting ice cream from their favourite café.