How to ensure your child has a good return to school

After six weeks away from their classroom, the regular school day routine may feel like a distant memory to your child.

Here are our tips on making sure they’re set up for a positive start to the new school year.

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1. Talk openly about how they’re feeling

Returning to school after a long break can be nerve-wracking. Ask your child what they’re excited about and if they have any worries. Instead of dismissing any anxieties, acknowledge them and try to counter them with reassurance: for example, their friends and peers are likely to be nervous too, and may also worry they’ve forgotten what they learned last year but teachers will be expecting this and will be ready to support them.

2. Look for new ways they can express themselves at school 

Your child may have spent the last few weeks discovering new interests and skills, or rediscovering old ones. Whether it’s reading, painting, dancing or playing an instrument, see if there’s a related school club they could join. If they can express a passion at school it’s a great way to grown in confidence and make new friends.

3. New back-to-school kit for a fresh start

Getting new school uniform, shoes or even stationery can be a good way to make your child excited about the new school year. It will encourage them to think about what they’ll need and visualise how they’ll spend their days once they’re back at school.

4. Ease back into a morning routine

Without the need to get to school on time every day, it’s normal for morning routines to have become more lax. In the lead-up to the start of school, incorporate punctuality back into your routine so that the first day back isn’t a total shock to the system. You could even pick a day to practise getting out of the house on time and doing the journey to school to relieve some anxiety you may all have about the big first day back.

5. Encourage time with friends

School isn’t purely about academia; developing social skills and fostering friendships is also hugely important. Your child may be anxious about shifts in their friendship group. Build up their social confidence by encouraging them to meet up with their friends, or get in touch by phone or online, in the run-up to the start of term.

6. Give your child time to readjust

Long hours, concentrated learning and interacting with others in a school environment is much more tiring than being at home, so try not to push your child too much at the start of term. Parents are naturally eager to know how everything is going, but asking a child how their day was can feel like an enormous question to answer. Asking more specific questions – such as “what was the best/funniest/strangest thing that happened today?” – can be a more helpful way to start a dialogue.

In summary, with a thoughtful approach – using some of the suggestions above – your child’s return to school should become a positive experience for the whole family.

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