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Children's charity launch back to school support service

By Alan Beresford

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PARENTS worried about their child returning to or starting school have a new dedicated support service for practical help and advice.

Children 1st chief executive Mary Glasgow.
Children 1st chief executive Mary Glasgow.

Children 1st’s Parentline have launched the new service as Scotland’s schools re-open this week after receiving an increasing number of calls from anxious parents and carers who have worries about children back to school.

Parentline, which is staffed by a highly skilled team from Children 1st, will offer parents and carers specific help and advice about how best to support children with practical and emotional issues as schools reopen.

Mary Glasgow, the chief executive of Children 1st, said: “As a parent, I know how tough it has been over the last few months with the schools being closed and all the challenges that has brought.

“Despite everything, children and families come through that and now the next challenge for many parents is the first day of school.

“Over the last few weeks, lots of parents and carers have been coming to us with worries about their children’s return to school. This includes parents with children starting P1 and S1 who have particular concerns about whether their children will cope.

“That is why we have set up this new service so parents and carers can talk through any worries or fears they have and get advice on how best to support their children. Children 1st Parentline is there for every family. Please do get in contact over the phone, online or through webchat if you think a chat might help. ”

Children 1st Parentline has been offering support to families for over 20 years. It has supported hundreds of families throughout lockdown as calls soared and traffic to the charity’s webpages quadrupled, when compared to the same period last year. Now, the charity is hearing more worries from parents about what the return to school will mean, especially for the many children who have struggled to cope emotionally during lockdown.

Parentline can be contacted over the phone on 08000 28 22 33 or via webchat at www.children1st.org.uk/parentline. A wide range of additional resources for parents and carers can also be found on the website.

Ann Jarvis, from Children 1st Parentline, put together some of her top tips to help make the first day back at school go as smoothly as possible.

She said: “By just sitting with your child and listening to any concerns and worries your child may have can make all the difference.

“Allow them to tell their story and really listen to what they’re saying.

“Bear in mind that none of us really like change – but change is much easier when we know what’s coming and can talk through our feelings.

“Talking and listening to your child about what they expect on their first day is a great way to prepare. Meanwhile, it’s important for parents to give themselves a break and accept that everyone is learning.”

She went on to say it is important to be prepared.

Ms Jarvis added: “There’s plenty of advice and information from schools about practical preparations: uniform, shoes, bag, lunch, labels on clothes.

“Perhaps ask your child if they would like to help you pack their school bag so they know exactly where everything is and will also help them get into a routine.

“Talking and listening to your child about what they expect on their first day is also a great way to prepare. ”

BLOB For more on this story visit www.grampianonline.co.uk

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