Preparing for going back to school

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It’s that time of year again, the holidays are nearly over, the frantic shopping trips to replenish uniforms and wondering how on earth you will get yourself and the children out of the door in time for school.

This year has the added issue of Covid: it has not been a 6 week break – for many it will have been nearer 6 months making it even harder for parents to prepare for the new term.  With only 2 weeks to go this is something to start looking at to help your child(ren) get back into a familiar structure ready for the start of school.

One of the biggest concerns parents have expressed during lockdown has been the additional time children have spent online with many children used to the new virtual life.  To help prepare YGAM have spoken with some experts to provide some tips to get back into the school routine.

Screen time

Time spent online during lockdown will have increased, along with zoom calls or google hang-outs, online play has been used not just for play but as a social tool to keep in contact with friends and experience some form of normality.  Whilst this has helped young peoples mental health, when they return to school the amount of time spent gaming online will be reduced.

  • Set new screen times, reducing the amount of time they play each day.  Use timers as a warning and as a signal to finish playing.
  • Turn off devices at bedtime so they are not tempted to start playing when they should be sleeping.  This will be hard for them to adjust, particularly when it is still light and hot outside.
  • Ensure online play finishes at least an hour before bedtime.  They may see it as a way to relax but the glare from the screen disrupts sleep quality.  Reading is a good way to relax your child and get them sleepy.
  • Encourage other activities rather than gaming or online play to do during the day.

New routines

Along with spending more time playing online, masses of young people have admitted to changing the timings of their day; staying up until the early hours playing as they can sleep in later in the morning.

  • Gradually over the next ten days get them to go to bed earlier so that by the time school starts they are back to their normal bedtime.
  • In the morning get your child(ren) up at the time you would for school, ensure they get dressed and eats breakfast.  Why not get them out for a walk first thing so they do not automatically head for devices.
  • If you usually set gaming time for when they get back from school look to do the same now so they get used to the routines again.

Factor in some exercise time, calm time, reading time.  Many young people can be feeling anxious about going back to school, especially with things being different.  Chat with your child to address any worries and help them think about how their day may look under this new normal.

Social

If they haven’t seen many friends from school during lockdown encourage them to meet up (ideally outside rather than in a house gaming) or arrange a playdate.  If you are working why not let them invite a friend round to play.  This will help your child’s face to face social skills along with reducing any anxiety over meeting back up with people.

For activity ideas and ways to encourage a healthy online/offline balance visit our website www.parents.ygam.org

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Preparing for going back to school

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