Updated: Sep 1
Helping your child feel ready for a new start
It’s that time again - the summer is drifting to an end, and everyone’s thoughts are starting to turn to the new term and academic year ahead.
Uniform, schedules and homework come hand in hand with the potential of new friends, new teachers and classrooms, potentially more responsibilities within the school and academic challenges.
Whether your child is starting a new school or returning to the same school, it is a time of change and this can naturally create anxiety.
Sometimes as adults it is easy to forget all that comes with going back to school, so we wanted to take a moment to think about it, and to put ourselves in the shoes of a young person with a new school year ahead.
Who will my teacher be?
What will my new class be like and which class will my friends be in?
Am I going to be teased, either online or in the classroom itself?
Where do I change for sport and clubs?
How will I fit my music lessons in and what will I miss?
Will my timetable be too busy?
Will I have enough to do in lunch breaks?
I haven’t finished my holiday homework.
How do I get to school, and what happens if I am late?
Having too much homework.
These are some of the worries that children share with us, and there are of course many more. Whatever their worries are, we want to focus on how to help and how to make back to school as enjoyable and anxiety free as possible.
How can we do this?
As adults we want to do what we can to help the young people in our lives and a really nice thing to do can be to go back through the previous term (or year) and to simply talk about it.
So often, chatting together can make the world of difference, and help the child in question to feel less alone, and more understood and connected.
Here are some suggestions, and depending on the age of the child, you can think about including drawing and pictures too.
What was your favourite moment(s) from last term/year?
What are you most proud of?
What are you most looking forward to?
What are your goals for this coming term?
What can I/we do to help you with these?
What are you anxious about this term?
What was tricky last term and what can we do differently to help?
What can I/we do to help make this easier?
An exercise we like to do with younger children, is to ask them to draw their favourite moment from school last year.
It’s amazing what children remember - it might be a Sports Day, or the time you came to watch them play a match, or perhaps when it was Danny’s birthday and he bought in cookies.
It doesn’t matter what it is, the idea is to help them to remember the fun that can happen at school, and to bring it to life with colour, if this feels appropriate, depending on the child.
Understanding and connection
Being heard and seen are two of the most valuable things we can give to our children and letting them know that we understand the anxieties that can come with a new school year can be instrumental in helping them to go back calmly and confidently.
Together, we can help to bring calm and balance to the young people in our lives.