Back to school - is it with trepidation or delight? How are you feeling about the return to the school routine? Perhaps you have a littlie starting school for the very first time? Or a tween making that big transition to secondary school?
Many clients we speak to are breathing a huge sigh of relief as getting back to a regular routine and a bit of ME TIME is much needed, but there are others for whom the transition may not be so welcome. Perhaps you are feeling anxious about the rushed mornings and the thought of getting everyone up and out of the house by 8.
Perhaps you have a child who does not like change or transition and finds going to school hard. Change schedules - Routines usually become more flexible during the holidays. Consider moving back to a term-time schedule a few days in advance of school starting.
Allowing time to settle down to the term-time regime BEFORE the impact of the first day back makes a smoother transition. Uniform —do make sure the uniform and shoes still fit in time.
Perhaps the children can even learn to sew on those name tapes and polish shoes. Other kit —involve the children in assembling what they need for school —there will probably be a checklist from the school. Involve them in the preparation. Infrastructure —set up notice boards for schedules somewhere conspicuous.
Have designated, accessible places for school bags, shoes and coats. Consider whether keeping toothbrushes and hairbrushes downstairs would facilitate a quick getaway in the mornings. Be creative and pick a reward that motivates your child! Chat through what is needed for the first day back - ask the children questions to get their input and Descriptively Praise their answers. Ask THEM to write shopping or other lists and check items off. All these things help them not only take responsibility and develop competencies which boosts self-esteem..
Emotional preparation is just as important as getting kit together. Although schools keep their main focus on results, we can provide an alternate view, putting the emphasis on the journey or process.
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We help them learn how to identify and manage negative feelings appropriately. It probably feels quite overwhelming. Sometimes feelings show up in butterflies in the tummy, headaches, eczema or nausea. It helps to hear that other people have similar feelings — most children love hearing about your experiences at school.
Empathise with any reluctance to go to school. Knowing that feeling is understood and accepted makes it easier to keep going. You probably wish we were still on the beach. You feel sad about leaving your friends and teachers. You might miss your old school for a while.
Maybe a part of you is also looking forward to making new friends and having more activities. It can be confusing when you feel two different feelings at the same time. And three last tips! First, remember how tiring school is for children of all ages. Plan time for them to rest each afternoon and at the weekend — avoid lots of playdates and activities until things settle down. Secondly, our children follow where we lead. When we enthuse, we create enthusiasm.
When we look forward to new challenges, they do too.
And when we show an appetite for learning, they pick this up. So, be positive about school, and it will help give them a very good start. I know it sounds obvious but just getting up 20 minutes earlier will enable you to get on top of things and prevent overwhelm and stress.
When we start the day off feeling in charge we will feel more confident about using all our skills and get results! If you found these tips useful why not sign up for a regular dose of parenting news, information and ideas in our newsletter and share this blog with your friends?
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