It’s back-to-school week and this can often be an interesting one, for everyone involved.
After a long summer holiday, it is a big transition heading back to school routine, in a new year with a new teacher and possibly new classmates too. It can take a while for everyone to adjust. Worries and anxieties are completely normal before starting school or returning back to school. We want to be able to help our children cope well with these fears and be resilient in themselves.
Here are 10 things to try to help make it a smooth week and help your little one cope with those niggling feelings:
- Back to Basics – Make sure you get into a good routine at least a week before school starts. Early nights, lots of exercises and outdoor play, good nutrition and limited screen time can make a world of difference.
- Understand and connect with what they’re feeling – Try to relate to what they’re feeling nervous about and don’t dismiss their worries no matter how silly they might seem. To them, they feel very real. Make sure they know that it is okay to talk about their fears and worries. Try to help them problem solve and come up with ways to make them feel better and safe when these feelings creep in.
- Take a drive by the school once or twice the week before school starts to help them feel familiar with the environment and surroundings. If you can visit their new classroom too. Get them talking about their favorite things from school last year to reinforce those positive memories.
- Let them take something special from home with them to school in their bag if it helps them to feel comfortable. Some ideas might be a favourite photo or a small toy. It is also nice to surprise them with a little note in their lunchbox every now and again to remind them you’re thinking of them.
- Be patient, it can take time to adjust. Be there for them when they need you and remain calm in yourself, children easily pick up on your anxieties and stress. Staying in a good space yourself is important to create a feeling of calm and to make the home a safe place.
- When you pick them up from school, ask them what the best part of their day was. Getting them to remember the things that they enjoyed the most will have a positive effect on their school memories. It is also a good idea to mention their teacher from time to time at home so that they become more familiar with them.
- Teach them some simple belly breathing techniques that they can use anytime they start to feel worried or nervous. Show them how to put their hands on their belly and watch it move to slow up and down as they breathe in and out. This is a simple but extremely effective way to calm your nervous system and help you feel more relaxed.
- Emotional stress release points (ESRs) are super powerful for helping you to calm down if you’re feeling overwhelmed. They are easy to teach children, simply by putting their hand over their forehead and having them take some deep breaths.
- Create an imaginary safe bubble with them. Get creative and help them imagine a big bubble all around them. Inside this bubble is their safe and happy place, only good feelings and thoughts can fill the bubble and anything that they don’t want inside the bubble bounces off it. Help them come up with a colour for the bubble by choosing a colour that makes them feel safe and happy.
- Keep things light at home. Don’t plan too many after-school activities, let them come to home from school and just be at home (this doesn’t mean screen time though!). Allow them to have unstructured play time, doing what they like but also try planning some enjoyable games or activities that you do all together as a family. In this time, make sure you don’t have your phone on you or any other distractions.
Kinesiology can help to identify and release some of these underlying worries and beliefs that children have and allow them to feel confident and free again. Remember, it is very normal for kids to have these anxieties but it is important that they don’t hold on to them and let them control their lives.