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Back to school tips

Expert advice to build resilience for the return school.

SydneyConnect Image: STRETCH

As the school year begins, Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Amelia Lewis has shared tips about how to build resilience for the return to the classroom amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a very special time but going to school may also be nerve-racking for some children and families. But, we can build children’s skills to manage situations that make them feel anxious or stressed as they arise,” Dr Lewis said.

Dr Lewis’ tips – which she’s nicknamed STRETCH don’t SNAP – will help to encourage psychologically healthy practices, thought processes and behaviour in children to build resilience.


  • Naming and claiming emotions – Help children put words to how they’re feeling, and validate these feelings as normal reactions to an uncertain situation. Some children may like to write the words down or draw a picture.

Take care of your body

  • As a family, promote positive lifestyle practices – healthy eating, good quality sleep, drinking plenty of water and regular physical activity.


  • Keep consistent bedtime, wake-up and meal time routines, set healthy boundaries about the use of screens and involve children in the back-to-school preparation.

Embrace learning opportunities

  • Reframe challenges as learning opportunities to build children’s skills and confidence. Help them to identify their own actions and solutions to future problems that might arise.

Turn off harmful media

  • Find fact-based, developmentally appropriate resources to use to talk to your children about COVID-19 and vaccines.

Connect with others

  • Strong relationships with family, friends and the community help children feel loved, safe, secure, valued and that they belong.

Help-seeking when needed

  • Changes to your day-to-day functioning are an indicator that you may need extra outside help to build resilience, such as a registered mental health professional.