The summer holidays are over and it’s time to go back to school. It’s a transitional time making children feel a range of emotions, from excitement to anxiousness.
“If your children feel nervous about the new school year, there are many ways you can empower them so they feel more prepared, both mentally and physically by discussing going back to school with them ahead of time,” says Kate Wilkie, positive psychology coach at Flourishing Mothers, a coaching service to help mothers build resilience to stress.
Here, Kate shares her top tips on how to get your children ready for going back to school.
Encourage your child’s natural strengths and talents
If you have a curious child, get them excited by telling them about all the things they will be learning this year. If you have a creative child, they might want to help cover their text books with colourful paper or write their name on their pencil case or lunch box.
Give them responsibility
Back to school is a great opportunity to give your kids some responsibility. If you let them do some things on their own they will feel more competent and confident which is great for their wellbeing. So have them choose their own stationery and encourage them to pack their own backpack. Helping kids become more independent is also great for the wellbeing of Mums!
Teach them the power of being organised
We all know how it feels running around the house the morning of first day of school, making lunch and packing. Avoid that frazzled feeling and teach your children the power of organisation by getting everything ready the night before. Together, make the lunch box, pack the backpack and make sure the school uniform is ironed and good to go for a relaxed start to the morning.
Schedule time to shop for shoes and uniforms together at least one week before school start so you don’t leave it until the last minute. Sit down with the family wall-chart or diary and schedule in dates for shopping. Make it fun with special date stamps such as Frixion Stamps which feature mini motifs depicting different activities, so they work well for children who are still learning to read and write, plus they are erasable so you can remove them if dates change.
Planning together with your child will teach them that being proactive and organised is the best way to prepare for anything in life, and it gives them a sense of ownership and control.
5. Create a gratitude habit
Talking to your kids about what went well during the day is a great way to create and share positive emotions. Start with paying attention to the positives and it can help to put problems into perspective and discuss challenges more calmly.
Talk about concerns
Just as with adults, if your child’s fears go unexpressed, the fears can feed upon themselves and increase anxiety, so encourage your children to voice any worries they may have before school starts. Give your child the opportunity to talk about their fears and concerns about the new school year, and work with them to come up with solutions together.
Celebrate the change
A great way to reduce back to school stress and get your kid in a positive mindset, is to celebrate the new school year. Take your child out for their favourite meal, surprise them with colourful stationery, or take them to see that movie they’ve been wanting to see.