With just under a month to go before children of all ages go back-to-school, summer can be a joyful, but extremely nerve-wracking time for many kids – and their parents too. Parents have a lot to prepare physically for a return to school, with a focus on new uniform, stationary, school bags and school shoes. The list is never-ending. But for the child involved, the thought of shopping for these back-to-school essentials, can be a lot harder to cope with. It is normal to feel anxious or uneasy during the summer, especially in the week or days before school begins. For the parents, going back to school is an awaited blessing, but you may find your child complains they feel ‘unwell’ just as school begins, or becomes moody or intolerable, crying or even becoming quite clingy.
So in an effort to ease that process as best as possible, here are some common anxieties or worries to recognize:
- Who do I sit with at lunch?
- Will I make new friends?
- What if my friends don’t like me anymore?
- What if I don’t like my teachers or they are horrible?
- What happens if I am late to a lesson?
- What if something happens whilst I am school to someone I know?
- What happens if I get my homework wrong?
There are even more worries which your child may display that is not listed, but it’s nothing to worry about, if you recognize there is a problem. The beauty of summer is you have time to ‘fix’ a problem, and there are ways to make sure your child feels as comfortable returning to school as possible. What is incredibly important, is not only recognizing your child is feeling anxious, but to make sure your child attends school. By avoiding the place your child fears most, it will only increase the anxieties felt and it will make the entire process even harder when they do need to go. And of course, if your child’s anxiety continues as school begins, then there are the teachers and counselors there to help and assist the back-to-school routine.
Here are a few top tips with dealing with back-to-school worries as a parents:
- Go shopping with your child – go to your local supermarket, uniform store or stationary shop and get them involved in the process of going back to school. If they choose the type of pencil case they want, and the lunchbox they will take every day, the prospect of going back won’t seem so hard.
- Make sure your child, no matter the age sees their friends during the summer – it can be very easy to let six weeks of summer slide, without a single plan in the calendar. But if your child is not quite old enough to make their own arrangements, then make sure you do it for them. They will rely on you to speak to their friends’ parents and arrange a date to get together. Stay in – go out, whatever you choose, if your child is mingling with their friends over the summer, it won’t seem daunting when they see their friends again on the first day back.
- In the week before school starts, you can get them back into the routine of waking up early, going to bed early, bathing/showering before dinner, and making sure their bags are bags.
Perhaps go out with your child and buy them a new alarm clock, and or a watch (if they are allowed to wear one) for school.
- If your child is old enough to go to school by themselves, go through the route with them again – whether it is driving, walking or taking the bus.
- Decide with your child what packed lunch they would like on their first day.
- Perhaps arrange for your child to go into school with one of their friends for the first day.