Wednesday, 15 August 2018

How to manage the first week back at school

It seems to have gone flying by, but the summer holidays are drawing to a close and the kids are going back to school. Indeed some children have already gone back. So what can you do to make the transition easier for them?

Early to bed, early to rise

Late nights may have been the order of the day in the holidays, but getting back to routine again can come as a real shock to the system. While children may have had the opportunity to get up late in the holidays to make up for late nights, the school day demands an early start and a clear head. Lack of sleep leads to irritability, non-compliance and hyper-sensitivity so it's important to get them back into their usual sleep pattern and routine as soon as possible. If your kids are struggling to go to bed at night after going back to school, get them outside and using their energy so they're tired and more likely to sleep earlier. The sooner you are back into the routine the easier it will be for them.

Enable and empower your children to do things for themselves

Holidays are usually a highly organised affair. All we expect of our children is for them to turn up and have fun! Sometimes, getting back to school and taking more responsibility for themselves again can be quite a transition. Giving them back more control over their own lives before and during their first week back can really help them adjust. Ask them to choose their own clothes and sort out their own laundry as well as helping with other household chores so that they are prepared to take over responsibility for themselves at school too. Enablement and empowerment are two life skills that should be encouraged and reinforced even during the holidays.

Keep communicating

We appreciate that the last thing your child wants to talk about when they are away from school is school. However keeping the lines of communication open during the holidays and first few weeks back can really help to prepare your child mentally for the weeks ahead and gives them an opportunity to discuss any concerns or anxieties they may have. Try and support your children's friendships too by arranging meet ups with friends outside of school.

The end of the summer can be a stressful time for children - and their parents - but for different reasons. For parents it's the return to the daily juggle between school, home and work and sometimes, in our eagerness to 'get back to normal', we can fail to spot the signs of anxiety or nervousness in our kids. Make sure they retain some of the 'freedom' of the holidays and give them some space to readapt to their school routine while also supporting them to explore and express their feelings.

And if you're getting your child ready to start school for the first time, Pacey, the professional association for childhood and early years, has come up with some handy factsheets. 

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