THE return to school can trigger a range of emotions in both parents and children over the next few weeks. Parents may feel a sense of relief that they don’t need to provide all day childcare, combined with sadness that extended time as a family is over. Children may feel apprehensive about being back, feel unsure about their new teacher or friendship groups, or they may be feeling excited about the new term.
These mixed emotions combined with the need to get back into the swing of the school day mean that the first few weeks are stressful. We’ve put together some survival tips to help you get through it.
During the first few weeks back at school your child is likely to be tired, and therefore more likely to misbehave or be irritable. They have gone from prolonged time at home and fun activities to a structured day consisting of a cognitive overload of learning and
social interaction. Factor this in when booking other activities and allow your child some downtime.
Be as organised as you can to help things run smoothly. Do as much as you can the night before to help with those first mornings getting back in to your school routine, and allow extra time in the mornings to avoid a mad rush. Make a list of any paperwork or letters you need to deal with for school and pop important dates on your calendar when you get them. Remind your child ahead of time what usually happens when they are at school, for example, what time they need to be up, when homework days are, or who will be picking them up from school. Make time to talk through any anxieties your child may have and offer lots of reassurance.
Talk through a regular routine with your child. Establish a regular time to go to bed, get up in the morning, and time to leave for
school. Visual aids may also help both you and your child with the routine: create a chart with the times and what usually happens
to act as a reminder. Get back into a regular homework routine as soon as possible – children will often have more homework than
in the previous school year and will need to keep on top of it from the start.
Parents often use the first weeks of back to school time to catch up with things they were unable to do during the summer, whether that’s work, washing, or deep cleaning the house. Remember that parents are human too and everyone needs downtime, so take five minutes to savour a cup of tea in peace and quiet.
For more info
Community Family Care, based at Staunton, helps families, children and young people in need of additional support. It seeks to improve parents’ confidence, help with routines to get children to school, or more complex support dealing with challenging behaviour at home. The work its staff carry out includes peer mentoring and life coaches for young people, and family support programmes.
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