Back To School Blues
With the summer holidays drawing to an end everyone’s mind is turning to school. For some parents it’s a welcome thought, the return of routine, organisation and perhaps a bit of quiet during the day! For other parents it’s as disappointing as it is for the children, perhaps you have mixed feelings. As parents, all those thoughts and feelings are justified.
Below are aspects relating to your children that you may want to consider and how to help them through this transition.
Your little ones may have mixed feelings similar to yours with regards to their return to school. It can be exciting to see their friends again, particularly if they have been away over the summer. They might be nervous, perhaps they have a new teacher they’ve not met before or they’re starting a new school. It is important to acknowledge all of their feelings and make them feel heard.
Perhaps make time for this sort of discussion during the day, during mealtimes can be a great time because there is another focus to the activity. Sometimes children are more forthcoming with their feelings when it’s not the focus of the activity, particularly older children.
Talk about all the things your little one has to look forward to,
- Seeing friends
- New clubs
- School trips
But ensure not to invalidate any of their feelings.
Changes In Behaviour
You may notice some changes in your little ones behaviour in the lead up to the holidays ending. It’s important to talk to keep calm in these moments. Children can’t always rationalise their behaviour so they need your help to keep calm and work through their emotions. Often anxiety, fear and nervousness come out in physical or verbal behaviours. You might notice your little one hitting or stamping their foot in frustration or shouting more than usual. Some children become more sensitive or emotional. Make time to sit with your child and get to the bottom of their behaviours and ask them how you can best support them. Sometimes they would like support in a different way to how we might think.
Effects on Bedtime
The joy of school holidays is that there is less need for routine. Children can enjoy activities into the evening and many enjoy sleepovers. It’s important to start getting back into a good bedtime routine before school starts. It can be hard enough getting up for school as it is, let alone extra tired little ones!
In the run up to school, bring their bedtime forward by a short period each evening until they’re getting to bed at a time which suits you. Children can be reluctant to go to bed early, particularly when it’s still light outside but it’s important for their brains to function properly at school.
On the last day of the school holidays why not have what I call a ‘blow out day’. A fun filled day with their favourite activities to take their mind off school and give them amazing last memories of the summer. Perhaps you could even do a ‘yes day’. This usually exhausts them too, helping them fall asleep quickly!
First Day Back
I have a little tradition for the first day back at school. When the children finish, I pick them up and take them out for a hot chocolate. This works as a great incentive for getting them to school in the morning and gives them something to look forward to.
Going out for a treat such as a hot chocolate also provides the perfect environment to spend quality, focused time hearing about their first day back. By being out the house there are no distractions and so soon after finishing they will be able to remember more details of their day.
If you’re having trouble getting details about your little ones first day this is very normal. Below are some open questions you can ask which might help; –
- How did you feel going into school today?
- Who did you sit next to in class?
- Who did you play with at break time?
- What did you have for snack/lunch?
- Tell me your favourite part of your day.
- Tell me one thing you learnt today.
- What are you most excited for at school tomorrow?
These questions often lead to further conversation as your child divulges parts of their day.
I hope this helps to manage the back-to-school blues. If you’re looking for further help, don’t hesitate to ask.