As schools reopen in early February, a lot of parents will heave a sigh of relief. It is normal for parents to find the long summer holidays stressful as they juggle their work in office and kids at home. So while parents find the end of holidays something to look forward to, kids can be a little stressed about going back to school, especially the younger ones.
While they might not be able to express their emotions, you can tell by their behaviour that they are not looking forward to going back to school. Some kids also develop symptoms that are easier to observe such as tummy aches or headaches. It is important that you identify these signals and calm your child. The worst you can do is by constantly reminding the kids about the big day. This will only lead to more anxiety and exasperation that they can neither express nor deal with.
If you think the child is more disturbed than normal, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor or a counsellor. If your child is going to a new school, it might be even more difficult for them to handle pre-school restlessness. So here are a few tips on handling the pre-back-to-school jitters:
Reinforce the positives
As a parent, you need to talk about the good things about going to school. Highlight the positives and give your child the confidence by discussing the things they can look forward to. For example, it could be a good friend or a bunch of friends who your child has not seen in a while. It could be a simple snack that your child wants when he/she comes back home. Maybe the games and fun they have in school or playing during breaks. Try putting a smile on your child’s face by reminding them of the fun they had during the last term.
Talk it out
Sometimes, kids are stressed because of a strict teacher or a bully in the school. They might not admit to it or talk about it, and therefore, you need to sit with them and tell that it is okay to have concerns. When they are relaxed, take them into confidence and ask them about their worries. Once the kids tell you, do not overreact. Do not blame your kids. Tell them to be confident and handle the situation.
Help smooth transition
It is important for parents to ensure that the transition is easy for the kids. You can do this by adjusting your schedule to ensure that a routine is set. If the child throws tantrums in the morning before leaving for school, be firm and talk to them with patience but do not give in and allow them to skip school on the first day. Also, make sure that on the first day, you arrive five minutes early to pick up the child from school. or reach home on time.
It is important that you get the basics right. Ensure that your child gets enough sleep. Established a bedtime routine that is conducive to a good sleep in a comfortable bed. Make sure the meals are healthy and nutritious.
Plan and prepare
Ask your child to be organised with their homework and assignments. It helps to have a calendar or a planner handy. Help your child prepare a routine for waking up, going to school, homework, and going to bed. It is important to inculcate the habit so that your child is organised from early on.
Some other tips that can be helpful
- If your child is going to a new school, try visiting the school before the schools open. This might help relax your child. If possible, take a tour and see the classrooms, playground, and meet the teacher along with your child.
- Before the school, ask your child what they want in their lunchbox.
- Ask them to choose the outfit for school. Also, ask them to prepare their bag the night before.
- Try little funny things such as putting a note in their lunchbox, or a favourite toy in your younger one’s backpack.
- Some parents go to eat out at their favourite restaurant after the first day of school and discuss how their day was.
Follow these tips to help avoid the pre-school jitters, and over the course of a week, your kids will get accustomed to the routine.
So until the next long holidays!