At this time of year most children in Australia are relaxed and enjoying sun-filled holidays but of course in only a few weeks the big, dark questions begin to emerge-
Who will my teacher be?
Will I do well this year?
What about NAPLAN?
Mum is broke and stressing- will I be able to get my books and uniform?
What if I don’t have any friends in my class?
This is my first year of high-school. I don’t even know where the toilets are and I get lost easily. How will I cope?
I am starting school. I am so scared. Why can’t Mum stay?
The fears build and many parents also begin to stress about school fees, books, shoes etc.
What should be a joyful school year beginning – a clean page of life – a chance to improve, grow and transform, is often turned into a gut-wrenching, anxious and even panic filled time.
Children (and adults) do not concentrate or do well academically when panicked and so it is important to apply a few measures to calm and reassure children.
- Try not to share too many worries with children. They don’t understand and often become anxious and panicky. Of course, it’s fine to tell them the family has overspent and needs to cut back but if they see you really anxious every day they pick that up and make that part of their personality. They start to mirror your anxiety and cannot function well in the important first term.
- Start to cut back on late nights and too much digital media in the last 10 days before school goes back and get the kids reading again! Maybe establish a family reading time for 20-25 mins each day. Just play quiet music in the background and everyone grabs a cushion and book. The rule is NO TALKING but at end you might have some brief discussions about what was read. Very young children may only be able to cope with 10-15 mins.
- Encourage your children to draw or write about their feelings as they prepare to go back to school. Talk to them about their worries and share some of the concerns you used to have as a child.
- Reassure them they will make friends and learn to find their way around quickly if they are entering a new environment.
- Ask them to help you plan lunches, get their organisers/diaries ready and help them choose after school activities carefully. Make sure they will have time for rest and play so that they can have down-time.
This can be a joyous and enriching time. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy the last days of fun and preparation for a great school year.
I wish you and your children a wonderful year, filled with learning, fun, beauty and love!
If you have any questions relating to beginning the school year, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise to answer!
We have special classes to help children settle in to grade 1 as well as targeted tuition for all age groups – group, individual and skype. Call 92714200 for more info.