Half of parents worry their kids social skills have suffered after missing months of school

HALF of parents think their kid's social skills will have been affected after months away from the playground and classroom.

The research, conducted by book publisher Collins, showed an astonishing 1,000 parents were worried about their kid's social skills upon returning to school.

Other worries around the return to school include the risk of their child catching Covid-19 (38 per cent), finding a five-day week difficult (27 per cent) and struggling academically (33 per cent).

The survey of 2,000 mums and dads of school-age children also found they think it will take at least three weeks on average before their child is fully settled back into the school routine.

A further 23 per cent fear their child’s friendships will be upset by the recent break.

But nearly half think their child will "always" be behind on their education, due to the Covid-19 disruption.

Collins' education publisher, Lee Newman, said: "Parents are understandably anxious about how their children will cope during the transition – it’s uncharted territory for everyone.

Parents’ top 10 worries about their child returning to school:

1. Adjusting to their daily routine again
2. The risk of catching Covid-19
3. That their child will struggle with their next stage of learning after the recent gap
4. Worries about social distancing and how this will affect their child
5. Their friendships being affected by the break
6. How tired they will be
7. How much they will struggle with homework
8. Their overall confidence being affected
9. Their overall mood
10. Adjusting to a new teacher or school without having any settling in days

"What this year has underlined is what a societal cornerstone schools are and how dedicated teachers are to the education and care of their pupils, and I think parents’ fears will be allayed quite quickly once term is underway.

"Learning resources such as practice workbooks and revision guides have a great role to play as children get back up to speed.

"Parents can use them to model positive attitudes toward learning, they can be used informally to recap prior learning, and they provide a great confidence boost as students’ progress through the materials."

Research also showed two in five parents are worried about their youngster adjusting to their daily routine again after almost six months away from school.

While 19 per cent think their child will struggle with motivation, and a third are expecting their child to be exhausted upon their return to education in September.

Worryingly, more than one in 10 mums and dads fear it could take up to six weeks for their child to fully settle back into school – half an entire term.

Despite their fears, a quarter feel positive about September and 22 per cent are "excited" to see kids return to education.

Two-thirds of parents feel optimistic about their child seeing their friends and 60 per cent like the fact they will once again have structured lessons during the day.

Things parents feel positive about their child returning to school:

1. Seeing their friends again
2. Getting back into a routine
3. Having structured lessons during the day
4. Spending time in the classroom
5. Getting more physical exercise

Playing games during break time (26 per cent), seeing their favourite teachers (22 per cent) and learning their preferred subjects (27 per cent) are things parents believe children are most looking forward to.

In order to help kids settle back in, 38 per cent of mums and dads said less homework to start with will help, while 28 per cent believe reduced hours will also have a positive effect.

A further 42 per cent think a recap of last term’s work will be useful.

But almost two-thirds believe their youngster will struggle with the early starts, as they typically got out of bed at 8:30am during lockdown and will now have to set their alarms for 7am.

Of those surveyed via OnePoll, 62 per cent admitted they struggled to encourage their child to do school work from home.

As a result, the subjects primary school children are expected to struggle with most include maths (24 per cent), writing (18 per cent) and grammar (11 per cent).

But they are likely to look forward to PE (15 per cent), reading (13 per cent) and science (13 per cent).

Dr Kathy Weston, a leading expert on parental engagement in children’s lives and learning, said: "It is normal to feel a little bit anxious about the start of the school term, and this year it might feel particularly acute.

"By staying positive, focusing on the things we can control and expressing excitement about your child's step up into a new school year, we give them the best chance of a good start in September".

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