Soothe back-to-school angst

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

The an­tic­i­pa­tion of head­ing back to school (or start­ing a new school) brings ex­cite­ment and anx­i­ety to both par­ents and chil­dren – doesn’t it all roll around too quickly? It seems that Christ­mas and New Year’s Day have only just passed and here we are con­fronted with the thought of first-day jit­ters, new rou­tines, struc­tured sched­ules and po­ten­tial sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety.

Chil­dren who have been pre­vi­ously happy to wave good­bye at the drop-off zone may be­come anx­ious about the first day back at school in a new year. Six weeks is a long time in their lit­tle lives and is a long time to have been away from school. In most cases they will be en­ter­ing a new class­room with new class­mates and a new teacher, and anx­i­eties may shoot through the roof.

There are a few ways you can at­tempt to make the whole first day and week a smoother and less stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. New teacher In the days lead­ing up to school re-open­ing, school of­fices are gen­er­ally open. If your child is very anx­ious about who their teacher is go­ing to be, take a trip to the school in the week prior to the first day. Pop into the of­fice and look for a photo of the teacher. Most schools have pro­files and pho­tos of the staff for young ones and par­ents to look at. Or visit the new teacher in his or her class­room. New class­room At any time over the sum­mer break and lead­ing up to the school year start­ing, take a visit to the school grounds. Ask your child to show you their new class­room and take a look through the win­dow. Talk about how ex­cit­ing it is to have a new class. New class­mates If you know which chil­dren will be in the class then it is a good idea for you to make con­tact with some of these chil­dren in the next cou­ple of weeks. Maybe have one or two of them over to play if pos­si­ble and fos­ter a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the kids. On the first day If your child is show­ing signs of be­ing ner­vous or if you your­self are anx­ious about the changes, it pays to take them to school for the first few days. Give your­self plenty of time to ar­rive, have a look around and meet some of the other chil­dren and par­ents. Meet the teacher and make a point of in­tro­duc­ing your­self with your child. Spend some time in the class­room be­fore you leave. Try to stay un­til he or she starts to look com­fort­able. It may be that a fa­mil­iar or friendly face from last year walks in dur­ing this time. Good­byes Good­byes can be very dif­fi­cult but ev­ery child is dif­fer­ent. Your child may sur­prise you. A good­bye rit­ual can work won­ders and be some­thing that just you and your child share.

Tell them you love them and to have a great day. Pos­i­tive and cheer­ful is the best way to go.

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