A child psychologist has revealed their top tops on how to help children handle the return to school in Scotland – amid fears they could be faced with “emotional trauma”.

Schools across the country are set to open from August 11, with scientific advice published by the Scottish Government last week saying pupils should not have to physically distance when they go back.

Face coverings should not generally be needed but staff should stay two metres away from children and other staff where possible.

What concerns are being raised?

Despite the welcome return, a leading teaching union has warned of the emotional trauma for children returning to school after a prolonged period off, and said a phased return would be ‘vital’ for their wellbeing. 

Alison Murphy, Secretary of the Edinburgh Educational Institute of Scotland local association, said: “Children will need to be run through ‘This is where you wash your hands’, ‘This is your bit of the playground’, ‘This is how the one-way system works’ and so on.

“You won’t be able to do that if 100 per cent of pupils are in the building on the first day. 

“It would be chaos - it wouldn’t be safe.

“And there’s the emotional trauma - they’ve been away from school for months. 

“An adult who had been off work for four months would be entitled to a phased return and for good reasons.”

Glasgow Times: Schools have been closed as a result of the virusSchools have been closed as a result of the virus

What advice is being given?

The online tutoring service MyTutor has enlisted the advice of Dr. Shreena Ghelani – a senior clinical psychologist – about how to handle the return to school.

Here are her three tips: 

Managing worry and anxiety 

If you know your child might struggle with going back to school, try developing a mental toolbox of things they can do when they are worried at school.

This might include a song to sing to themselves, visualising a calm place, practising breathing techniques and identifying safe staff they can tell if they begin to feel nervous during the day.

Speak to your children about the impact of Coronavirus 

Let children know that it is likely that other families may have been impacted by the virus, whether that’s keyworking parents working hard, or family bereavements. 

Encourage your child to be patient and kind to other children.

Let you child know what they might still be expected to do – not hug friends, wash their hands more often, or not share toys. 

Don’t rush to get back to normal too quickly 

When school restarts in your area, you may find that children are more tired than usual by the extra demands and sensory stimulation placed on them. 

Ease them back in to their routine gently and allow enough space and time in a new schedule for any hiccups so that you’re not having to manage too many demands. 

When the time comes, you’ll find you’ll feel less stressed if you know there will be bumps in the road. 

You can find more tips and online tutoring at MyTutor.