Old familiar routine that we’ve missed or new unknown chapter that makes us wobble?
It hasn’t happened yet and we don’t know what it will look like.
Change is unknown and scary if we don’t have the confidence to know we can handle anything or the mindset to face our fears head on. Not knowing your new teacher or missing your old one. Not knowing where you will sit in your new classroom and if you will be with your friends.
How do you feel as the hazy days of Summer come to a close and a new school term beckons?
How is it for your child as you start to post new timetables on the fridge or check that homework is all done?
The very thought of getting back into a routine can be a comfort to many of us, but for others not so much. I remember the thrill of going back to school as a child. Not just because I was a Ginger Geek who loved to learn, but because I was usually fully kitted out with new school shoes, bag and snazzy stationery. From the souls of my patent leather shoes to the tip of my freckly nose, everything about me screamed new, fresh and eager to get stuck in!
What can you do to help your child cope?
Here are 3 practical tips on how you can smooth the transition from Summer fun to stress-free school for you and your child:-
1. Create a Positive Mindset Around School
Changing the way we think and talk about school really does make a difference. Children of a certain age develop a perception that school is boring / uncool / bad (*delete as appropriate*). When we give our attention to what we don’t like about something, that dissatisfaction grows bigger in our minds. Notice how when you talk about going on a diet, your mind conjures up images of curly lettuce leafs, limitations, no chocolate or wine, hard work and starvation! However, when you re frame that thought by changing the language you use, your brain responds in a more positive way. So you may call it healthy eating or taking care of your body or energising your body with food.
Avoid the 4 Cs of Complaining, Condemning, Criticising + Comparing
Notice how you talk about school with your children. Do you talk about the teachers you don’t like, the areas where you need to improve, the friends who are mean to you, the early mornings, the stress of the traffic, all the homework? Or do you talk about play dates, after school clubs, successes, friends who are good to be around, goals for the new term. Of course we don’ t have to be happy clappers and ignore the problems that school can create like bullying or homework struggles. These can be discussed and addressed appropriately. However, if we take a view that there is good in everything, we will feel much happier. It’s all about making choices 🙂
My Smiley Thought Cards are a really good way to get your child thinking more positively and trusting in themselves to navigate unknown waters of a new term. You can pick up a box in my online shop and make a start on training your brain to see the good.
2. Encourage Your Child to Independently Address Worries
Sometimes we don’t need to fix things for our children. They need to go through their own ‘pain’ to know how to deal with it in the best way for them. Besides, if we constantly show them that our way is always the best way (it often is but there is nothing like discovering that for yourself), then they think we don’t have the faith in them to do what is necessary.
Sometimes, we don’t want unsolicited advice, we want to be heard, understood and accepted
By simply listening and acknowledging feelings, children feel supported and have the space to explore possible options. Just try it. Try really hard to listen and play back to them what they are saying without jumping in and rescuing them or telling them what to do. You may even be surprised that they come up with their own solutions. Try it with your partner and friends too. They will thank you for it.
3. Practically Prepare Your Child For School As Much As Possible
This may seem like an obvious one as children who are wary of change need consistency and predictability in order to feel safe. Being safe to an anxious child is their main concern. They will go to the ends of the earth to ensure they feel safe.
Having enough sleep, getting a good diet, enough water and feeling relaxed will help your child to mentally and physically prepare. The sleep routine is likely to be a bit all over the place after the holidays -maybe they’ve been used to getting a lie in and now that early alarm clock is going to feel like a lightening bolt. Preparing as much as you can the night before school will help – bags packed by the door, uniforms laid out on their beds, lunches made, petrol in car, shoes cleaned. You get the picture. For more ideas, have a look at 10 Ideas to Shake Up Your Family’s Morning Routine or Starting The New School Term With Confidence.