Return to Classrooms | Information for Parents & Caregivers Supporting Children

Helping Parents and Caregivers Support Children with SA’s Hybrid School Model

As South Australia prepares for Reception, Years 1, 7, 8 and 12 to return to classrooms on 2 February 2022 with the remainder learning online for the first two weeks of term, infant and child mental health advocate Emerging Minds says it is understandable for anxiety amongst children and families to be heightened.

While parents and caregivers can’t control how school returns at the end of this month, Emerging Minds Director Brad Morgan says there is a lot they can do to support children and teens to feel safe and in control and support their mental health.

“We know that the start of the school year is a time of excitement and nerves for students and families,” Mr Morgan said.

“Add in the uncertainty of SA’s delayed return to the classroom for the majority of students and the switch to online learning, it’s no surprise that many children and families are feeling anxious about returning to school in the pandemic.

“Periods of uncertainty can have longer-term mental health impacts, but they don’t have to.

“Parents, educators and extended family can play an important role in helping children manage the feelings that come during times of uncertainty and reduce future risk of mental health concerns.”

He offered the following advice to help children:

  • How you feel matters: Children use the people around them to judge how safe situations are – when you feel safe and calm, so do your children. If you are struggling, seek information and support.
  • Be curious: Don’t assume you know what children are worried about. Create opportunities for them to share their worries with you and with other trusted people in their lives.
  • Reassure your child it’s okay (in fact, it’s normal) to feel different during these times.
  • If your child is non-verbal, you can describe the thoughts, feelings and sensations you think they may be experiencing, based on your observations.
  • Give children opportunities to be in control. It might be choosing what t-shirt they want to wear, the filling in their sandwich, or taking charge of a new job around the house. It also helps to share things kids can do to keep themselves and those around them safe.
  • Don’t say everything is okay if it’s not. Being told things are ‘fine’ when their own physical and emotional experiences are telling them otherwise can affect a child’s sense of trust. During times of uncertainty, share how those around them are working hard to keep people safe and make sure school can start soon.
  • Acknowledge the situation and talk to your child about what is happening in a way that is appropriate for their age. These fact sheets offer tips to help you talk to your baby, toddler, primary school-aged child or teen about ‘tough times’ and adversity. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know what might happen next, but let them know you’ll be there to support them through it.

Emerging Minds has a wealth of free resources that parents, caregivers, teachers, doctors and other professionals can access.


About Emerging Minds:

Emerging Minds is dedicated to advancing the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Australian infants, children, adolescents, and their families. The organisation leads the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health. Emerging Minds develops mental health policy, services, interventions, training, programs, and resources in response to the needs of professionals, children, and their families. It partners with family members, national and international organisations to implement evidence-based practice into the Australian context. The National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

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For more information and all enquiries please visit the Emerging Minds website

What:   Helping Parents and Caregivers Support Children with SA’S Hybrid School Model

When:   Return to school in 2022

Where:  Free resources online from Emerging Minds

Who:   Parents & caregivers

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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