Back to School - Coping with Change

It is completely normal to feel this way...

The majority of children are going back to school in the next two weeks and there are likely to be very mixed emotions running around the house. A lot of children will have been at home with just their parents for the last six months, whilst some will have already been back to some form of child care. But one thing is certain, this will be a big change for all of them (and us!)

At this time in particular due to the pandemic, children will show varying degrees of nervousness and it is completely normal for them to feel this way. What is important is how we as parents or guardians deal with it and encourage them, whilst helping to calm any nerves. 

Top tips to help them cope with change...

Read below for some of my top tips to help them cope with this change:

  • Ask them directly if they are feeling nervous or anxious. A lot of their concerns can be addressed simply by talking about them. 
  • Make sure you reassure your child that it is normal to feel nervous and that they will probably enjoy it a lot more than they are expecting to! 
  • Children pick up very easily on our own thoughts and feelings, so make sure you are as positive as possible with them.
  • For little ones, try and emphasise all the fun activities they will get to do like painting, playing outside and listening to new stories. 
  • If they are in secondary school, you can emphasise the positive aspects of secondary school life, like meeting new teachers and experiencing new and exciting subjects that they might not have done before. 
  • Get everything ready in advance that they will need for school, so you are not rushing in the morning to get out of the door. 
  • Try and make sure they get a good night sleep the night before, we all know how being tired can heighten anxious emotions! 
  • Be prepared to deal with tears as you walk away from them, no matter what their age! Reassure them of the time you will be picking them up and calmly walk away, again trying not to let them pick up your own emotions. Just remember that you will only have to go through the first-day feelings once, just as they will! 
  • After school, try your best not to bombard them with questions, they are likely to be very tired and not remember much at all! Let them unwind and have a snack as they are usually starving by home time. Try not to interrogate them too much, and let them tell you things when they are ready. You can try and get a bit more out of them as the days and weeks go on! 

Children cope with change in many different ways...

Children cope with change in many different ways and often separation anxiety can affect older children as well as the younger ones. If they are really distraught then discuss this with the teacher, they will have dealt with his many times before and have strategies in place to help deal with it. Ask if you can call the school office a few hours later just to check your child is ok. This is often just to settle your own mind as much as theirs and nine times out of ten children forget about their worries once they get busy in the classroom and get back into some sort of routine! 

Give ourselves a BIG well done...

2020 has been a disruptive year for us all and most notably for our children and their education. I think we all need to give ourselves a huge big pat on the back for getting through these past few months and supporting our little ones through the disruption.

The next blog will look at how we can build confidence and self-esteem in children, so make sure you check back soon! 

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