Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Starting School -

Lois Haultain has this ad­vice for help­ing your child set­tle into school.

Slow down. Be­ing in a hurry cre­ates ten­sion that chil­dren can sense. Stress­ful sit­u­a­tions are fer­tile ground for tears and tantrums.

Have your child help you get things ready the night before. This gives him some own­er­ship and a feel­ing of be­ing ca­pa­ble.

Don’t over-sched­ule af­ter­noon ac­tiv­i­ties for your child ini­tially; they’re on a huge learn­ing curve and might ben­e­fit from re­lax­ing with you and their own toys af­ter school each day for at least a term.

Many kids find school tir­ing and it’s likely that they’ll need more sleep, so try to get them to bed ear­lier. In­ter­pret be­hav­iour prob­lems as signs of tired­ness, not a ‘naughty’ child.

De­velop a quick, happy good­bye ‘rit­ual’ to min­imise teary drop-offs for anx­ious kids. Af­ter giv­ing him a smil­ing hug on his level, try kisses on his hand to ‘keep’ in his pocket for later. Tell him he can ‘grab’ them if he feels a bit over­whelmed or wishes you were near.

Touch base with the teacher but re­mem­ber they have up to 29 other kids in the class. They ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing told about sig­nif­i­cant changes at home, such as a be­reave­ment, sep­a­ra­tion or ill­ness. And if you have any con­cerns, such as bul­ly­ing or your child’s safety, speak up sooner rather than later.

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