As the summer draws to a close and a new school year begins, a lot is going on in the minds of parents and children, particularly if the new term also involves a change of schools. These changes are – for the majority – exciting and positive and while we’re not suggesting that new environments should be avoided, this change in routine and environment can cause stress or anxiety in those that aren’t as naturally equipped to deal with it. Some kids find it easier than others, and academic stress has been cited as the main contributor to depression amongst young people, so it’s in everyone’s interest to address the situation if it gets too much for them. What can you do then, as a parent, to minimise or manage these worries?
Start the back-to-school sleep routine early
Try to ensure your kids are waking up fairly early to minimise the grouchiness that we all suffer from when going back to early rising after a long break. Stick to their bedtimes a few days beforehand too – for older children for whom this may not be feasible, it might be easier to just accept that they’re going to be exhausted when they get back from school for the first week, so try and make sure their evenings aren’t crammed full of activities.
Familiarise them with a new area
If your child is starting a new school, driving the route to the school a day or two before and making sure they know their way around the area can ease their worries. Most of the anxiety that comes from taking on new challenges is the fear of the unknown, so if your kids are a little more familiar with their surroundings, they’ll probably be less inclined to panic about it.
Don’t add to the stressful environment
Talk about the start of school with a tone of optimism and excitement, and focus on the positive aspects of meeting new people, learning and expanding your mind. If you’re running around like a headless chicken whilst trying to get everything in order, you’re likely to be stressing out your kids even more.
Prepare Essentials early
If you can organise all the back-to-school necessities a few weeks or so before the first day back it’ll make it much easier to set your child’s mind at rest. We all know how much of a nightmare it can be to sort out uniforms, stationery, sports kids and school books so if they’re all brought and ready to go in advance then it’ll give you more time and allow you to keep a calmer schedule.