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Countdown to the classroom: A parent's toolkit

Strategies help families return to school after home-learning.

SydneyConnect Video: Countdown to the Classroom

With students set to return to the classroom as COVID-19 restrictions ease, one of Sydney Local Health District's child health experts, Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Amelia Lewis, has created a toolkit for parents to make the transition back to school as smooth as possible.

"For the past three months and more broadly, the past two years, parents have been doing it really tough. Remote learning brought us some unique opportunities, but mainly some unique challenges.

"No one child's or family's experiences throughout lockdown will have been the same," Dr Lewis said.

From Monday, 18 October, on-site school learning will return for Kindergarten, Year One and Year 12 students with all other years returning to school one week later on Monday, 25 October.

Whilst life shifts to returning to a new normal, Dr Lewis said these changes may bring both feelings of joy and nervousness to Sydney families.

"I'm here to tell parents, you've got this. Parents have faced enormous stress and pressure during this pandemic and there's certainly no one-size-fits-all approach."

Dr Lewis recommends parents hear and validate any worries children may have, acknowledge there are some things children can't control and provide reassurance as much as possible.

"Reminding children about how they adapted to remote-learning in the first place will help them problem-solve strategies that they might be able to use to adjust to being back in the classroom. Parents might not be able to take their child's anxiety away, but they can use this opportunity to model and teach important coping skills.

"Backed by psychological science, some of my practical tips and strategies will help make the transition to on-site learning for your child as smooth as possible:

  1. Be positive
  2. Re-establish routines
  3. Be prepared
  4. Provide support
  5. Make time for family
  6. Support teenagers
  7. Take care of your own wellbeing

"Asking how children feel, what they miss the most about school and what they are most looking forward to will support a healthy mindset in returning to the classroom," Dr Lewis said.

For further information on Dr Lewis' tips, watch Countdown to the Classroom here.

For details on your child's return to school and their COVID-safe plan, please visit https://education.nsw.gov.au/