SEN Back to School Guide for Carers

Sending our kids back to school, or if we're young adult carers going back to university, may seem like a huge step after a long break off.

For many, this transition comes with some strong emotions - not only for our children but also us as parent and carers.

"My child has been shielding. I feel like we're in an impossible situation right now."

There are children with disabilities going back (with their parent carers navigating the transition), young carers going back, young adult carers embarking on university. Each with their own views and feelings. But the impact goes further than that.

When our children are anxious and perhaps 'acting up' over going back, there is an emotional (and sometimes physical) impact on their parent carers or siblings too.

"One of my children is on the point of school refusal - it's very stressful. School starts tomorrow - wish us luck. One thing is for sure - we will all be exhausted from the build up."

It's important to acknowledge that it's OK to feel anxious, and that those feelings are being mirrored in many households right now.

Equally, if your child or you, as a young adult, can't wait to go back or get started - that's absolutely fine too! There are no right or wrong feelings - we're just acknowledging that there are feelings - and many are strong ones!

"I'm much more relaxed about my children going back to school than I thought - even though hubbie is vulnerable, I'm keen for us to get back into the school routine. Will just need to be more careful at home. (#haveyouwashedyourhands?)"

Resources for Children

Each child has different reasons for worrying about returning to school. There will be some children experiencing anxiety.

Anxiety over new routines, with fear of the unknown and of change. Anxiety of social distancing (or lack of) at school. Social anxiety from the thought of being with lots of people again. Or perhaps anxiety over their academic performance - with worries about how far they feel they may have fallen behind last year.

There are also children with learning disabilities, who may need extra support with understanding new routines, new teacher and new classmates for example.

We've sought recommendations from within our caring community and beyond, to bring carers a list of valuable resources.

Resources for Child Anxiety

  • Child Line have Calm Zone, which has a brilliant tool box of resources to support children with anxiety. Including breathing exercises, video games and ways to cope videos. There is a real breadth of tools, and hopefully something for everyone.

  • For older children,