11 October 2021

How to have a smooth transition back to school

How to have a smooth transition back to school

Every child and family’s experience of learning from home will be different. For many families, having one or more children learning from home presented difficulties with regards to physical space, access to technology, and supervising learning while one or both parents were either working from home or were required to still be on site at work. Some children may have enjoyed being able to work at their own pace or having the access to 1:1 support from a parent or older sibling. Others enjoyed spending more family time together. 



Given these different experiences it is no wonder that returning to school comes with a mix of relief, excitement, and stress for children and parents. Below are tips for families to follow to support a smooth return to the classroom.

1. Get into a routine

  • In the week before your child returns to school, put into place the bedtime, wake up, and breakfast time routines that existed before learning from home.
  • Don’t forget to check that uniforms and shoes still fit, and that your child has all the school equipment they need including bags, lunch boxes and drink bottles, stationery supplies.
  • Pack the school bag the night before and most importantly, allow more time than usual to get ready on the first day back. Try to ensure that the morning remains as calm as possible.

2. Be positive and talk about feelings

  • Talk positively with your child about returning to school. Ask them what they are looking forward to when they come back and let them know that their teachers can’t wait to see them again.
  • You might like to suggest that your younger children draw a picture of their friends or their teacher.
  • If your child has questions about COVID-19, provide age appropriate information and remind them that the government has decided that school is a safe place for children to return to.
  • Your child may be feeling excited but also nervous about coming back. If your child feels worried, help them understand this is a normal reaction and that you and their teachers are there to support them.

3. Prepare for changes

  • Make sure to read newsletters and check the school website to keep up to date with new procedures that may have been introduced. This might include changes to access to the school grounds as well as the wearing of face masks or hygiene rules.
  • It is important to discuss any changes with your child, including the possibility that siblings may be returning to school on different days. The more your child knows about what to expect, the more comfortable they are likely to feel.
  • Let the school know of any concerns relating to your child that may impact their transition back to school. The school counselling team is available to support you and your family with the return on site.

4. First day back

  • Going back to face to face learning will be tiring and emotional for some children. Allow time for your child to play and relax at the end of the day. Ask them to tell you or draw a picture to show you what their favourite part of the day was, and what they are looking forward to tomorrow.
  • Gently re-establish after school routines including homework time and time for any extra-curricular activities.
  • Many children will be missing the time spent with parents or siblings during learning from home. Consider scheduling family time together if possible.

5. Remember

  • Returning to usual school routines may take time. Don’t be alarmed if your child appears anxious, unsettled or highly emotional in the coming weeks. This is normal.
  • Take care of your own wellbeing while supporting your child’s return to school. Where possible, be the ‘calm’ for your child during this period of transition.
  • It can be helpful to remind your child of times in the past when they were able to get through a difficult or stressful situation. Speak with them about what strategies or plans have worked before.
  • Reach out to a trusted friend, spouse, member of your church, or a mental health professional for extra support if needed.


Please visit the links below for more ideas on how to support your child’s return to school.

Nip in the Bud - Returning to school after the lockdown

APS - Transitioning to school

Ms Rebecca McIntosh & Mrs Pat Olmos

School Psychology Team




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