Supporting Your Child's Return to School

Strategies for supporting your child's return to school during COVID 19.

This school year is like no other, so if you and/or your child are feeling anxious about the return to school during COVID-19, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are a number of practical things you can do to help.

Accept and validate your child’s emotions. The start of a new school year can be an exciting time and it can also be an anxious time – especially this year. Let your child know that their feelings make sense (“Everyone is feeling a bit anxious and uncertain right now. It makes sense that you would be feeling that way, too”) and make sure your child understands that there’s no such thing as a “bad” or “wrong” emotion. It’s okay to be feeling whatever it is they’re feeling. You being there for them in a calm, confident way can help.

Look for opportunities to address your child’s specific worries and concerns in an age-appropriate way. This might mean helping them to find answer to their biggest questions or role-playing particular scenarios that are causing them undue stress. You might also want to encourage them to zero in on coping strategies that have worked well for them in the past.

Expect change. The uncertainty we are all living with can be hard to take. Keep focused on those things you and your family have control over (e.g., adequate sleep, daily routines, together time, physical activity.) Helping your child think through what to expect if they’re returning to school is also helpful. This story, developed by our own Inclusive Education department, might also be useful in helping prepare your child for what school will be like.

Remind your child that they can turn to other people for support, both at home and at school. They don’t have to handle this on their own. If your child has some additional needs ask your child’s school what strategies they recommend for easing your child’s transition back to school.

Learning to deal with life’s changes and challenges helps build resilience. Children are capable of weathering even the stormiest of storms if they can rely on the love and support of at least one caring adult. Being there for them emotionally and helping them learn and practice coping skills, will help build your child’s resilience.

We are in this together. The health and safety of all learners in our schools is a top priority! The current issue of the Healthy Schools, Healthy People newsletter shares more tips and resources you might find helpful.

Feeling Anxious? It is normal to think about and worry about what is happening worldwide and as close as in your own home. If you need to talk to someone confidentially –connect with Kids Help Phone here.

Connect with us. You’re always welcome to connect with your school counsellors, teachers and principals. If you need to talk with someone about school work or technical difficulties, are worried about your grades or future, need some help accessing the above resources, or just want to talk –reach out.


This content has been adapted from materials produced by the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre. For more on their efforts to support families during COVID-19, visit the Kelty Mental Health website.