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Best ways to prepare your child for school after the holidays

Most children in Australia are going back to school soon. Children experience a mix of emotions when it comes to going to school.

Easing back after the holidays can range from feeling really excited and eager to concern, fear, or anxiety. Getting butterflies or general worry about going back to school is common.

Among the biggest worries of preschool children are feeling left out, being teased, or saying goodbye to their caregiver at drop-off.

Concerns of school-aged children are about exams, not wanting to return to school, and problems with teachers. Some feel lonely and isolated.

The main concerns for teens are coping with stress, school or study problems, and mental health.

Supporting parents, children and young people with back-to-school challenges can help reduce negative school experiences using the below steps.

1. Set up a back-to-school routine

Create a structure about going back with a school routine. Be guided by your knowledge and history of what best supports your child during times of change and transition.

2. Talk about going back to school

Most children deal with some level of stress or anxiety about school. They have insight into their school experiences, so find out what worries them by asking directly.

3. Help create a sense of school belonging

A sense of belonging at school can affect academic success and student wellbeing. Parents can facilitate positive attitudes about school by setting an encouraging tone when talking about it.

4. Look out for signs of stress

Research suggests parents can miss stress or anxiety in their children. Parents can spot stress if their child (depending on age):

  • is more clingy than usual or tries to escape from the classroom

  • appears restless and flighty or cries

  • shows an increased desire to avoid activities through negotiations and deal-making

  • tries to get out of going to school

  • retreats to thumb sucking, baby language, or increased attachment to favourite soft toys (for younger students).

If these behaviours persist for about half a term, talk to your classroom teacher or school well-being coordinator about what is happening. Together, work on a strategy of support. There may be something more going on than usual school nerves, like bullying.

5. Encourage questions

Encourage questions children and teens may have about the next term. What will be the same? What will be different?

The full article can be read on the Sydney Morning Herald Website

Article Source; Sydney Morning Herald Website, written by Christine Grové and Kelly-Ann Allen


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