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

Page last reviewed: 4 August 2020

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. 

Start talking 

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

Sleep routine 

Help your child return to their normal sleep routine in the weeks before school starts again. Our “How to…” guide on improving sleep could be a good place to start. 

Talk about school 

Start to talk through the daily routine that they were once so familiar with. It doesn’t have to start as a conversation about worries, but these might arise as you talk. 

Coping strategies

Model coping strategies you use when feeling stressed such as reconnecting with friends before returning, doing regular exercise or using breathing techniques. If it applies, you could share your own worries and feelings about returning to work 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 

As schools reopen, other things will too. It might be helpful to talk about things the child is looking forward to, like their favourite shop reopening, seeing friends in the park or getting ice cream from their favourite café.