The back-to-school ads are everywhere, it's blistering hot and you are sick of hearing “I’m bored” and “there’s nothing to eat” …
It can only mean one thing … It is almost time for the new school year to start.
It is normal for kids and adults to feel nervous and anxious about the beginning of the school year. Although that doesn’t make it any less stressful. It can be even worse for those who are just starting school, changing schools, or starting high school. So what can you do to ease those worries? Read on for our suggestions for both primary-aged kids and teenagers.
Starting School For The First Time
Visit the school and show them around, even just driving past and saying things like “that is your new school, you are going to have so much fun!”
Organise playdates with children who go to the same school, so they already know a friendly face
Read stories about starting school like - The King of Kindergarten.Check out our previous blog post for a list of stories.
Come up with a fun routine to say goodbye - it could be a secret handshake, a high five, or a big hug.
Talk positively about school and remind them that you will be there to pick them up.
Drawn-out goodbyes are upsetting for everyone involved. Once they are settled - leave straight away! If there are tears don’t worry their teacher will help and they usually stop by the time you’ve reached the car!
Limit other activities in the first few weeks of term, starting school is tiring and kids need time to wind down and relax.
Do something special at the end of the first day or first week - starting school is a major milestone.
Primary Aged Kids
Get back into a routine at least a week early. Waking up, going to bed, and eating at the same times that you would once school begins.
Bake some yummy treats and plan out school lunches
Talk lots about school, who their friends are, their new teacher, and all the fun things they will get to do.
Read stories about starting school like - The King of Kindergarten. Check out our previous blog post for a list of stories.
Allow more time to settle down for bedtime
Get the kids involved in buying their new school supplies - try our scavenger hunt!
Again ask the kids to help you label and organise their new things.
Talk about your memories and experiences of school (positive ones!)
Pack their bag the night before, making sure they have got everything they need.
Lay out their clothes
Allow extra time on the first day of school to get ready and get to school a bit earlier than usual
Getting back into a routine is good for any age, so again get back into normal sleeping patterns at least the week before school starts.
Do some goal-setting activities together - helping them to set realistic, achievable goals.
They might like to pick out their own stationery and organise it themselves - or you can help them out if they need it. You could even give them a budget and let them shop for themselves!
Again organise some yummy lunches and bake (even if they don’t want to join in)
Encourage them to get organised themselves by setting their own alarm.
Do some practise runs if they are going to catch the bus or find their own way to and from school.
Discuss any worries or fears about the new year ahead.
Parents and Caregivers
You might also be feeling anxious and nervous yourself, and your little ones take their cues from you. Remaining calm and talking about school positively will help the children in your life to feel confident about the upcoming change.
Ongoing Separation Anxiety
Leaving your child at school when they are crying and upset is a tough thing to do. Most children recover quickly once their parent or caregiver leaves the room. If their teacher says they bounce back quickly once you’ve left then don’t take too much notice of their protests. Instead praise them for their brave behaviour by saying things like, great job coming to school today, I can’t wait to see you this afternoon.
If anxious feelings continue there are places you can go for help such as your GP, or head to these websites like:
Don’t forget to discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher and the school to see what they can do to help
End Summer With a Bang
Use a calendar to count down to when school starts. On the last day of the holidays do something fun like getting ice cream together, or spending the afternoon at the beach. You could even make it a family tradition.
I hope the start of the new school year is smooth sailing for you and your family. We'd love to hear if you try any of our suggestions in the comments below.
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