Parenting column by Sasha Brown, family care manager at Community Family Care, Staunton
Getting back to school routine
After a summer of trips away, lie-ins, and a more relaxed routine at home children often struggle to get back in to the school routine. They find it hard to revert to a stricter, more time-driven routine and in turn you can find yourself with some stressful avoidance behaviours to manage.
Add in a very tired child from their first week back and you’ve got a behaviour time bomb.
Here are some simple tips to help limit the blow when transitioning back to school.
Prepare your child
Start getting your children back in to their school routine early if possible.
Start reducing screen time if they have been using consoles and tablets more over the holidays, as the sudden withdrawal of screens can make them more irritable.
A week or so before back to school time start also having regular and predictable meal times and bed times that will prepare your child for adjusting back in to their school routine.
Tired children are more irritable so start getting them back in to a good sleep routine before going back to school.
If children have been waking up later in the holidays then gradually wake them up earlier to prepare for the early school mornings.
Having eight or nine hours’ sleep a night will also help them to be more alert and able to concentrate at school.
Acknowledge how they feel
Most children will have an emotional response to going back to school. It is a change in routine and the end of a summer full of fun and relaxing.
Try to validate their feelings and acknowledge that most children probably don’t feel like they want to go back to school but that it will be great to see their friends/learn/see their favourite teacher/play their favourite sports.
Give them motivators and reminders of all the fun things they have to look forward to. This could include family trips at the weekend, for example.
Get up early
During the first week back get up 15-20 minutes earlier to give yourself time to deal with any avoidant behaviour or fallout from tired children.
If you have time to deal with what they throw at you it it’s going to be less stressful for everyone involved.
Stick with it
Just remember that after a couple of weeks they will be back in to your well-rehearsed school routine and it will get easier.
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