Make term time happy
The transition from holiday time back to school can be difficult for children and parents, even for those children who are eager to return to school.
They must adjust to the greater levels of activity, structure, and for some, pressures associated with school life. Getting the new school year off to a good start can influence a child’s attitude, confidence and performance both socially and academically.
Back-to-school time often means significant lifestyle changes for children and families and making smooth transitions between holiday time and the routine of school days, can help children feel good about themselves.
Helping children adapt to new situations can ease parents’ minds and give them a chance to become involved in their children’s education.
Parents and early childhood professionals share a role in making children feel safe and secure as they move to new educational settings. Parents can help their children (and the rest of the family) manage the increased pace and routine of school life by planning ahead, being realistic, and maintaining a positive attitude.
Here are tips and advice formulated by school counsellors and educational bodies to help ease the transition and promote a successful back-to-school experience.
Overcome anxiety: Let your children know you care. If your child is anxious about school, send personal notes in the lunch box or book bag. Reinforce the ability to cope. Children absorb their parents’ anxiety, so present yourself with optimism and confidence. Let your child know that it is natural to be a little nervous when they start something new but that it will be just fine once he or she becomes familiar with their classmates, the teacher and school routine.
Prepare yourself: Take note of how your child reacts to separation. If possible, visit the new school setting with your child and introduce your child to the new teacher or early childhood professional in advance.
Establish routine: Reestablish the usual school day, bedtime and mealtime routines. Implement the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least one week before school starts. Prepare your child for this change by talking about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming over tired or overwhelmed by school work and activities. Start daily routines that will add to continuity. Let your child become involved with packing lunch or laying out clothes.
Encourage bonding: Arrange a playdate with another classmate from school, preferably one-onone, so that your child will see a familiar face when he or she walks in.
Make time: Put aside extra time, particularly on the first day back to school, for chatting and commuting together. Always say goodbye to your child but remember not to prolong your goodbye.