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Is your child anxious about returning to school?

Do this one thing to help manage any anxiety your child may have!

As the new school year approaches, our children often feel excited but also anxious for what lies ahead for the learning year.

Having spent around six weeks at home over the break (for some it’s been longer with lockdowns and isolation periods), this is a long time to go with them not seeing their school friends and being out of the school day routine.

Whilst anxious feelings are normal there are ways we can support and prepare our kids to try and create some calm and ease around the new school year.

Here is the number 1 tip to help:

Talking - in a casual setting, such as over dinner, breakfast, or on the car trip, ask specifically what they are feeling nervous or fearful about. Actively listen and validate their feelings, no interrupting when they are talking, listen, acknowledge and accept how they are feeling, when they are finished explain to them that it is okay and also normal to be feeling these things, in fact, most other children will be feeling the same. If you haven’t been able to have a chat about the subject, ask them if they would like to write about it. Ask them to put pen to paper on the things they are feeling about their return to the classroom, and some things they want to do over the next week or so to help them feel ready to go.

Other helpful tips include:

  • Talk with them or get them to write about the positive side of returning to school - seeing their friends again, perhaps meeting new children, and making new friends.

  • Get back into a routine, making sure that they have a proper bedtime to get adequate rest and they are eating meals at regular times, ensuring they’re well-rested and ready for the return.

  • Ask your child to help write a shopping list for their school lunches, as well as helping you pack their lunchbox for the first day. Slip in a little note for them at lunchtime letting them know you are thinking about them!

If your child is still feeling overwhelmed make sure you are not being dismissive – remember how you feel when going into a situation that makes you uncomfortable! There are lots of small things you can do on their first day to help them through the gate, take a walk before walking in the school gate, guide them through some deep breaths, remind them to speak with their teachers, school counsellor, or student support officer if they are still not feeling right. The main thing is for your child to feel supported in their return to school. The rest will come with time.



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