Well, 2020 has been quite an eventful year, to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns brought new challenges for families the world over. With the Prime Minister’s announcement encouraging people to return to work as of the 1st of August, parents are faced with the prospect of how to transition back to old routines just as we were starting to get used to the ‘new normal’ .
Whether you are returning to work full-time or still working partly from home, here is a list of important things you may want to consider how these changes can impact on your children:
While returning to work is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of the UK’s economic recovery, things remain uncertain and it is difficult to predict what the future holds for us in terms of job security. Perhaps you’ve been furloughed or lost some of your additional sources of income from investments, whatever the case there are many people out there who’ll be feeling the pinch.
In light of the financial implications of COVID-19, your family might be looking for ways to consolidate their finances, so before making any rash decisions with regards to your child’s schooling make sure you are aware of the financial support available to help you cut the cost of nursery fees.
Working from home surely came with its own unique challenges. For many parents it meant spending more time with their children than ever before. Now that you are returning to work, you’ll need to decide whether sending your child back to school is a viable option. If you don’t feel right sending your toddler back to nursery quite yet, that’s OK. Remember there are alternative childcare options available.
Calling in support from the extended family is a good idea, but you’ll also factor in the health risks for the carers too, especially grandparents. Have you considered hiring a nanny? Or giving online preschool a try? Implementing a mixed-model is a great way to help your child transition back to their old school routine.
Without a doubt, this pandemic turned our regular routines upside down. Not only were our regular schedules altered dramatically but parents were forced to take a more active role in their children’s education. And of course, rules were relaxed – bedtime was a little later and screen time increased. But as we start returning to work, it’ll be important to start slowly reintroducing elements of our old routine. This means waking up at the regular time, getting dressed and eating breakfast as usual.
Obviously, protocols at both schools and places of work would have changed in light of health concerns associated with COVID-19 but taking small steps towards reinstating your pre-pandemic routine for the whole family will certainly help the little ones adjust to the changes. Pick your battles, focus on the small things rather than bringing your child up to speed on the curriculum.
With families bunkering down at home during the lockdown, children would have become accustomed to seeing more of their folks. Sure, this has been a great time for family bonding but it also means that being apart again when parents return to work is going to take its toll on both parties.
Be proactive and pre-empt the issues linked to separation anxiety. Slowly having your child practice being apart from you again by spending time with other caregivers is a good first step.
Finally, understand that these are unprecedented times and returning to work and the school doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 is over. Best practices are constantly changing and this is new territory for us all. Returning to work is bound to be stressful. It’s important to realise that each parent and every child will deal with the challenges in their own way. So remember to take care of your mental health, be kind to yourself and ask for support if you feel overwhelmed. You are doing a great job.
Adjusting to change is never easy but humans, especially those small ones, are incredibly resilient. With a little preparation and forethought, parents can limit the stress caused by the ever-changing nature of this pandemic and its impact on our daily lives. Here’s wishing you the best of luck for your return to work!
Ready to send your child back to school too? :