No matter what your child’s age, the first day back at school can feel overwhelming. Whether it’s their first day in Reception, the start of a major exam year or just back into the daily grind of lessons, lunchtimes, and the school routine – it can feel like a lot.
After a summer of some sun, relaxation and freedom, getting back into the swing of things, new teachers, and restarting friendships may cause feelings of anxiety. And as parents or carers, it’s tricky to know how you can help.
In this quick read, we look at some ways to help your child ease back into the start of term.
Talk About It
If you’ve got a sulky teenager, it may not be the easiest conversation to have, but keep your fingers crossed, and they may open up. For younger ones, it’s a little bit easier to broach the subject. Ask them how they feel about going back (or starting) school. Pose questions about which friends they’re excited about seeing, what games they might play at break time and if they know what books they’ll be reading.
For kids, that six-week summer break can feel like a lifetime, so getting your children back into a school frame of mind can help them adjust to new beginnings.
Whether this is the year your child starts travelling to school by themselves, or it’s the first time you’ll be taking them, a trial run is a great idea to get everyone ready. Practice bus routes, walks, car journeys and so on so you all know how long it will take and how to get there (and back). This is a good way of exploring the importance of punctuality, road safety and routine.
A clearly drawn or written timetable for the morning can be a positive way to reduce anxiety for you and your children. For little ones, draw pictures of clothes, a toothbrush and a bowl and spoon to take them through the steps they’ll need to take each morning. For older kids, writing down times and what needs to be done will also be a help.
After a long day at school, before they do their homework or after-school activities, organise some downtime. Give them a rest and snack so they can recharge their batteries and unwind. As much as adults can find a workday challenging, kids can find school just as tough.
Starting school again is stressful for kids and carers, so in those first few days back, try not to put too much pressure on them or yourself.