It’s the beginning of a new school year and this can bring with it a mixture of anticipation, excitement, anxiety and stress for parents and students alike. Far away from what might have been a relaxed, unstructured Summer break for the students, the new school year brings new faces, homework, and structured, scheduled activities.
Some tips for getting back into the school routine, physically and emotionally!
1. The benefits of a good night’s sleep for all of us can help energise and focus us for the day ahead. Sleep is also key to ensuring our memory consolidates, by helping different pieces of information we have learned in the day to come together. Talking with your child about the benefits of sleep and how this can help them physically and emotionally may be useful, as will getting back into meal and bedtime routines at least a week before school starts.
2. With every new school year can come a fresh start. A chance to take on new opportunities and set new goals. Discussing and setting some goals with your child perhaps about activities they would like to be involved in, or how they would like to develop can be a helpful start to the school year.
3. For any anxious child, helping them get to know the setting of the school (if it is a new one) can help. Even if it is not possible to visit inside the school beforehand, walking around the surrounding area can be reassuring. Visualise with your child the new classroom experience being successful, and encourage them to visualise themselves feeling calm and confident as they meet other students and new teachers.
It is not at all unusual for children to feel worried about the beginning of the new school year, particularly if he or she is also having to make a transition into a different school. After a few days or weeks, any anxiety should lessen, but if it continues, then speaking to a form teacher can be a good first step to seeing how best to support your child. Alternatively, seeing a counsellor within the school or externally can provide additional support.