Some kids get really excited about going back to school. They look forward to re-connecting with their friends, they are excited about having a new teacher and all is well.
For some children though, the back to school blues are a reality. They may feel anxious about a new class (or even a new school) and they may worry about making friends, getting back into the routine or the influx of homework.
For kids who struggle with heading back to school, a little extra TLC is needed at this time of year. Here are few tips for parents to make it easier – now that dreaded first week is out the way!
Getting up at the crack of dawn can be tricky after a relaxed summer, meaning things may be tense and a little chaotic for a while. The best thing you can do is stick to a clear routine, so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. Packing bags and lunches the night before and laying out clothes can help tremendously, and it is great to get your kids involved with this.
Regular sleeping and waking routines can also help, as can a consistent order in which they eat breakfast and get dressed. Completing everyday tasks each morning in the same order will help your kids them quickly develop a habit, and school run will be far less stressful as result.
Building meaningful friendships
For some kids, friendships can be a struggle and can make or break their time at school. Encouraging out-of-school playdates can really help strengthen friendships, so why not invite a few kids back for tea this term and help your child along with this?
Children often think about the number of friends they have, rather than the kind of friend they are – so it can really to teach them that to “have a good friend, you have to be one”.
Encouraging your child to think about the kind of friendship they offer is really useful. Perhaps they could sit with you and make a list of all the good qualities a friend should have, like being a good listener and a good cheerleader. Once they recognise these qualities, you can encourage your kids to take them on board and be the kind of friend they want to have.
Joining in with clubs at school is another good way to help a child make new friendships and feel part of things. A shy child may find this tricky at first so do talk to their teacher if they struggle. They may be able to help them access clubs with peer support.
Homework is something lots of children do find it daunting – and who can blame them really, no-one likes to start work again when they have done a day’s work already!
You need to help them approach it with a ‘can do’ attitude. As soon as they’re tasked with the homework, they need to be planning when they are going to do it (well before the deadline). If it is a long piece, then breaking it down into chunks of time will help – a homework diary is really useful for this. Once they have planned it into their timetable, they will automatically stop worrying so much. A clearly defined study space, the right materials and a few snacks can all make the homework process easier too.
Do insist their phones are off and all distractions are at a minimum. You might also find a little incentive for when homework is finished – for example, half an hour of watching TV or baking after their work has been completed can really encourage them. Setting good homework habits now will help in the long run.
No matter how tricky going back to school may seem over the few weeks, kids usually soon settle down. Try not to panic or worry too much, and do show them how confident you are that they will enjoy their exciting school years. Confidence is contagious.
Happy back to school!