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Watch: kids talk about their worry over returning to school

School return
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

A new research video reveals the concerns children have over returning to school in September.

With schools set to re-open next month, the government guidelines insist: ‘Schools should implement class or year-sized bubbles, as well as encouraging staff and pupils, where they are able, to keep their distance from each other and avoid touching.’

In light of this, a short film backed up by proprietary research reveals the extent of primary school children across the UK who are worried over the return to school and warns of the impact on their mental health.

It found the one third of children are nervous about returning to school and one in ten admits to being scared. Based on average class sizes, this works out at three children in every class who are scared to return and approximately 1,507,000 feeling nervous.

Pandemic’s psychological effects

When interviewed on film, the younger children aged six to eight, revealed their sadness at not being able to hug each other, with one girl, aged seven, saying: ‘I do not like social distancing, when you can’t hug anyone and you just want to give them a squeeze.’ Another, aged six, added: ’If someone is crying I just want to give them a hug, but I can’t because I have to keep two metres apart.’

Dr Julie Smith, clinical psychologist and expert in mental health with one million social media followers across TikTok and Instagram, said: “The research illustrates the significant psychological effect the pandemic is having on children. 

“When children return to school, many will not have stepped foot in school for five months.  Whether they are returning to a new class or even a new school, they will all be returning to a new normal. As parents, there are things we can do to support them.”

Seven-point plan

Smith has worked with Start-Rite to help parents enable a calm transition back to school in September and spot behaviours that might show their child is anxious, but not sharing their concerns. 

The seven point plan is available to view in detail here and includes making time to listen to your child, asking open questions; not attempting to correct or dismiss how they feel; reassuring them their feelings are normal; letting them know that the feelings may be temporary; helping them think through the first day back at school and being prepared for it by allowing extra time.

Kate Tansley, CEO of Start-Rite Shoes, said: “We want to support families through this challenging time and help ease the transition back to school in September.  Children’s healthy development and wellbeing drives everything we do. We constantly strive to listen to and understand children.” 

Watch the video below:

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