As the restrictions gradually relax, with more changes afoot next week, there is a sense of normality returning and understandably there are a range of emotions and feelings about how to navigate this.
For some, it presents an exciting opportunity to shop, eat out and party in a social frenzy. For others it is more of a symbol of freedom that these things are available to do again, whilst a proportion of people also feel overwhelmed by the prospect of doing anything outside the home local area and indeed the thought of large groups might cause anxiety for many reasons.
The vast majority of children at Grimsdell have returned to school with a spring in their step and have slotted back into the social routines with relative ease. Some work on self-regulation and boundaries was necessary to support the children but they adapted quickly and their happiness to be back in school is palpable.
As a Head and a parent there is a sense of relief here, but equally we are aware of what they missed out on during this extended period of two Lockdowns. We have all recognised the benefits and tried to see the positives of more family time and a slower pace perhaps, but now that there is a glimpse of normality there is a temptation to try and ‘fix’ what was missed by doing everything and anything that is available.
Children’s activities are back on, playdates are back on outside (and inside soon), cinemas and theatres will open shortly, we can go to trampoline parks, to shopping Centres – the world is open again. If these opportunities are embraced to fast and too hard there is a danger of social overload for children, and we have noticed that some of our children are showing signs of fatigue from doing too much too soon.
Children cannot always articulate how they feel and will be swept up in the decisions we make for them, so I urge parents to be mindful about managing their child’s transition back into normality. Watch for signs of fatigue, nervousness and reluctance and also over-excitement which can interfere with emotional regulation.
Aim for a balanced return to the real world, still prioritising time outdoors, so that children can gently ease their way back in. Whilst I have missed the opportunity to socialise there is a part of me that has become very happy and accustomed to home time and early nights – I certainly would not want to be made to go to nightclub when they open again on the 23rd June. Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes when planning their activities and allow them the simple joy of being back at school before embarking on too much rollercoaster riding.
One step at a time and we will find ourselves and our children naturally enjoying the freedom of a new era.