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Returning to school is always a mix of emotions. There’s high hopes and excitement for the year alongside that uncomfortable ‘upside-down feeling in your tummy’, as some of our members call it! Back-to-school nerves are common for many children. It’s understandable as there’s a lot of new things to contend with – new routines, new teachers and, for some, a whole new school. We’ve got some back to school advice for parents to help the journey run more smoothly for both you and your child.Change and the unknown is something that we can all feel uncomfortable with, but there are steps we can take to help. The goal is for every child to breathe easily, hold their head high and return to school with confidence!
Signs of back to school anxietyWhen children are nervous about school it can manifest itself in stomach aches. They have the same uncomfortable feelings that we have as adults when beginning something new. Remember how you felt when you started a new job or gave an important presentation to a new group of people?Young people don’t always know how to explain their feelings and that nervous tension can create other changes in behaviour too. You may notice that they are:
- Unable to fall or stay asleep
- Irritable or short-tempered
- Unable to focus
- Suffering from exhaustion
- Experiencing muscle tension
- Or have a change in their mental health
6 Back to School Tips for ParentsFind some tips to help your child return to school with confidence.
- Get their bodies ready. Start making small changes to your daily and bedtime routine the week before returning to school. Get up and go to bed earlier each day so you return to ‘school-day timings’, go for a walk in the mornings, try to eat at the same times the children will at school. All these things help our children’s bodies prepare in a gentle way for the change ahead.
- Get things clear in their minds. Talk about the first week of school. Discuss what the new routine will look like. For some children mapping out the day and writing down the times they will be doing things can be really helpful. Record important dates and times on a family calendar or whiteboard for the first week of school so everyone can see.
- Reinstating good learning habits. I’m sure I’m not the only one that allows a few learning habits to lapse when in holiday mode. Now is a good time to gradually reinstate some daily practises that will help with the school year ahead. For example, reading before bed, practising spellings and times tables. If this is something you’d like help with, check out ‘The Explore Learning approach’ below.
- Get organised. Do a uniform, shoes and school supplies check (you won’t be the only one to find they’ve suddenly grown out of those clothes you bought a few weeks ago!) Get the school bag and lunch boxes packed and PE kit organised. Being prepared is one of the biggest ways to help us calm anxious thoughts and feelings.
- Practise the question ‘What did you do this summer?’. Reminisce on all the different things that you’ve done together over the holidays. Perhaps there’s a photo of a favourite experience that you could print for them to take and show their new teacher and classmates. It’s always a good idea to chat together about what they did this summer, that way they’ll have an answer ready and waiting for their teacher (and hopefully it won’t be ‘I did nothing all summer…’)!
- First day back plans. The night before they start school, talk about something that you’re going to do after they get back from their first day of school. Perhaps you’ll go out for an ice cream or visit the playground. This is a distraction, but it works and helps very anxious children to feel positive about the day ahead. It’s worth noting that anxiety can also be a learned behaviour. Are you feeling anxious about the change in routine? Our children often mirror our behaviours without us realising. Take a moment to touch base with yourself and remember it’s important to think about your own needs too.
Back to school advice for parentsAnd finally, don’t forget about your own wellbeing to cope with the demands of a new term!Here are some tips to get organised…
- Do the school shopping in advance to give yourself time for any last minute trips
- Don’t forget about your own sleep routine and wellbeing – make time for whatever it is that makes you tick
- If you need it – try and sort out after school child care in advance of term to save you stress during school time
- Carve out a child-free hour or two some evenings when the children are in bed
The Explore Learning approachIf the return back to school, homework and daily learning habits is causing you a headache then support is never far away. Explore Learning has 100 vibrant learning centres as well as an online tuition service providing nationwide support for all your maths and English learning needs.
Nothing is too great a challenge with an Explore Tutor by your side.Share your goals with us. We'll create a bespoke curriculum, delivered by brilliant tutors to address your child’s needs. We know that people make the difference when it comes to learning. They keep you going when the work gets tough, share strategies for overcoming challenges and celebrate your success when everything comes together.Explore tutors are brilliant at striking the balance between coach and cheerleader. Creating memorable learning moments and developing learning habits that will support your child throughout their life.
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