I write this blog as a parent who thought long and hard about my boys return to school following the global pandemic of 2020 and as a teacher who is supporting students as they recently returned to the education that they have missed for five long months.
It’s natural that as parents we are concerned about our children, but I am seeing lots of students who are bringing their parents anxieties ichnto school which is having a negative impact on their return and wellbeing and its making me sad on their behalf.
So today I wanted to share three ways that as parents we can help our children to feel safe and relaxed back at school.
The first is to model the behaviour we want to see in our children.
Children cannot be educated when their mental health and emotions are unstable and so any conversations that we as parents are having around risks, concerns and potential future events, need to happen out of ear shot from eager ears. Be positive about their return to the routines (albeit different than they were) and friendships that they have missed out on and ask questions at the end of the day around what they enjoyed doing.
Talk to school staff; the principle, class teacher or teaching assistant if you have any concerns. Trust me when I say that teaching staff are taking all necessary precautions to ensure that children are safe and feel happy to be back at school. Many staff will have their own concerns around being at school and so are unlikely to take any risks around their own or your child’s health but all staff will understand parents who need reassurance and maybe more explanation about the measures in place.
Encourage good hygiene
Promoting good hygiene has always been important but now more than ever as we approach the winter months with a pandemic still lurking. Having said that, research has shown that more children have been affected by seasonal flu than covid this year already and so promoting good hygiene (without being so militant that it creates health anxiety or OCD ) is great practice to get into. Hand sanitising* with trusted products such as INEOS Hygienics which is hospital grade, can be built into each day as a daily habit – before class, before meals, after using the toilet (in addition to hand washing). Again, model this at home in a relaxed and natural way so that it becomes a habit.
INEOS Hygienics has a range of ways to access hand sanitiser. For me, I love the pump action bottle which sits on my teaching desk and is an easy way of keeping on top of my hand hygiene throughout the day. Oliver takes the small bottle to school with him in his bag which is really convenient for him and Harry, who is sensitive to some textures, has the spray that his teaching staff help him to use which isn’t as overwhelming to his senses. We are all of course wearing our masks (Harry has a makeshift covering as mask wearing is a challenge with only one ear!) and maintaining social distance but not to the extent that it dictates our plans or is the forefront of every thought. This will become a new way of life for us all, I don’t want anxiety to play any part.
This pandemic wont last forever but I am hoping that its legacy can be a happy, healthier, more germ aware generation!
This blog post has been written in collaboration with INEOS Hygienics Sanitiser products which are hospital grade. They are made from high purity pharma grade alcohol and are specially formulated to the highest standards for being effective against 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. Our hand and surface sanitisers are designed to give you the confidence to get back to the new normal, whether that’s at home, at work or on the go. All thoughts are my own.
Available to purchase on Amazon.
* Use sanitisers carefully. Always read the label and product information before use.