Skip to main content

Helping my child return to my setting -

Some children may be starting to return to their setting following the coronavirus pandemic over the coming weeks or months. We have been through unusual and unsettling times. This information anticipates some of the difficulties and anxieties that our children may be feeling as they return to the setting.

Advice for successful transitions reminds us to focus on relationships as well as recognising the growth, development and learning that has occurred while our children have not been in the setting.

We should also remember that transition is not just an experience for the individual child but for everyone around the child.

When your child returns to the setting things will be different and this should be supported as another key transition in their life..

Key focus areas will be to support your child’s well-being, confidence, security and nurturing friendships. Happiness is the priority.

What might children need to be ready to return to their setting?

  • Praise me when I try to do things independently
  • Talk to me about favourite things at the setting
  • Talk to me about staying at the setting on my own
  • Talk to my key person how to recognise if I am feeling anxious or worried
  • Play games with me that I played at the setting
  • Read my favourite stories then I can share them in the setting
  • Talk to my setting about what they expect
  • Talk to me about my friends at the setting

What can parents/carers do to help me get ready?

  • Reestablish bed time routines if needed, bath, book, bed
  • Ask for photographs of my room at the setting to remind me of the setting
  • Share ideas to make me feel happy and confident
  • Celebrate what I can do
  • Share things we've learned together with my key person
  • Make hand washing fun with some songs and counting
  • Talk to me about my behaviour and my emotions behind them with my key person
  • Maintain a good eating and drinking pattern

Be prepared for returning to the setting

  • Talk to your child about happy things that happened in their setting
  • Look at the setting website or social media to keep updated
  • Share pictures and snap shots of things you have done during lockdown if you have any
  • Respond to the things that the setting send home or share on social media alongside your child
  • Visit the setting with your child when allowed
  • Talk to the setting about transition arrangements and social distancing
  • Check if there are any virtual tours and face time opportunities if the setting is closed
  • Ask for photographs and information from the setting to support conversations and build positive anticipation
  • Discuss how additional support will be provided for younger children, those with special educational needs, education, health care plans or looked after children
  • Establish routines around bed times and meal times if necessary
  • Share your concerns and expectations with the setting
  • Explore potential phased return with employers to reduce anxiety around expectations and possible phased return     

Returning to the setting

  • Talk to the setting about your child’s development during lockdown
  • Talk to the setting about the things your child has enjoyed the most during lockdown – their interests
  • Share stories and games that you have played during lockdown to support continuity during transition
  • Be aware of your own emotions so that you don’t transmit your anxiety to your child
  • Talk to the staff about your child settling in again, if their interests have changed and how they are feeling
  • Follow your child’s lead during the transition and respond to their emotions as they happen
  • Expect the setting to provide a curriculum of learning through play linked to the prime areas
  • Be positive but be honest; don’t dismiss your child’s emotional behaviour, they are showing you how they feel
  • Act on any concerns swiftly to minimise impact of adversity and maximise support available
  • What is important to you and your child when they begin to return to their setting?

If you can, message or email photos of family members and perhaps things you have done at home to the setting so they can talk to your child about them when they return, and they can reconnect home and setting


 Last updated: 12 Feb 2021