Return to school anxieties?
June 1, 2020

Today sees the return to school for some children after the longest break they will have had since starting school.

Across the country, many children in the early years and Year 6 will be back in their uniforms and heading for the classroom. 

Except this time the classroom will be very different. As schools open their gates for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown began on 20 March 20th

The need to continue to social distancing calls for a new approach to the traditional school day. Classroom set-ups will be different as children are given their own space to work within designated ‘bubbles’. Staggered start and finish times to the day, combined with returning to a school which isn’t full of children all contribute to new experiences for pupils, parents and teachers.

Parents will have had many discussions about whether to send their children back today and understandably, parental differences around school return have been widespread. Managing those differences, and sharing those worries is crucial to ensure these concerns do not become another source of anxiety for your child. These discussions may be especially difficult where parents are separated. 

OnePlusOne is offering its top tips for how to cope with the challenges this new situation may bring. They include:

  • Talk to each other. Whether parenting together or apart, be clear about how you are feeling about your child returning to school. If you have more than one child and they are not all going back, talk about how you feel about this too. Be honest about any worries or anxieties you have.
  • Listen to each other. Give each other’s opinion your full attention. This is a new experience for everyone and there are bound to be concerns. Discussing them openly and paying attention to feelings will help you reach the best decision for your family.
  • Don’t lose sight of what is in your child’s best interests. Remember to keep your children’s wellbeing at the centre of your decision-making. Whatever you decide, they need to be prepared accordingly. Share your worries with your partner, or ex-partner if you are separated. Even if you disagree, make sure your differences don’t add to any concerns your child may already have.

Verity Glasgow, co-director of OnePlusOne, said: 

“As a parent, this could well be the first time you have had to consider the risk of sending your child to school.

Every family faced with the possibility of their child returning to school at this time will have had some difficult and potentially stressful discussions about this step. Being clear with each other and sharing any concerns you may have as adults will help you to reach the best solutions for your family.”

This is unchartered territory for us all. Managing differences and concerns by listening and talking to each other will help to ensure these concerns do not become a source of anxiety for your child”.

Whatever decision parents made about the return to school today, how children adapt to this new environment is still to be seen. It is important that families, regardless of whether they are living together or apart, maintain an open dialogue about their feelings so that they can work through any concerns they have in the best interests of their children.

For further advice about life through lockdown, coping with stress together and other relationship issues, take a look at OnePlusOne’s expert articles on