Wherever you are based in the world, January sees children going back to school and day care following a few weeks off. Already, Kids on Track is speaking to parents whose children are exhibiting signs of anxiety about the new term ahead. Be it being more clingy, sleep disruption or regression in toilet training - what can parents do to help ease the transition back to school? Here are a few ideas that we have seen work really well - we hope that they can help you too!
A GRADUAL TRANSITION : It is important for children of all ages that they are aware of when they will be going back to school or daycare. Expecting them to be droppped off in the morning with no warning this was coming can cause more issues. It is a good idea to be talking about what is going to happen when they are there in a generic way - who their teachers are; which friends they will see; what activities they will be taking part in is a great way to start to readjust their minds to thinking about transitioning back to school.
GOOD MORNING ROUTINES: In most homes, the pre school rush is a stressful part of the day. Not everyone is a morning person and generally mum ends up doing everyone's pre school preparation for them. One idea is for each child to have an age appropriate check list of their own for the morning of things they know are their responsibility - examples could be brushing teeth or eating breakfast. One thing that can help to de stress the mornings is to take care of whatever you can the night before - some ideas can include preparing lunches for the next day and having clothes or uniforms out and ready to go!
BE AS INVOLVED AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT INTERFERING : During holiday time, the majority of parents are far more involved in where their children are each minute of the day.. who they are with; what activities they are involved with and even their latest interests. During school time though, between drop off and pick up, it is easy to feel disconnected from what is happening minute to minute. It is a good idea to find ways to enter your child's school world and understand what they are doing there. Ask about their day, their friends and their teachers. Use open ended questions that can't be answered with a yes or no. No matter how old your child is, many appreciate interest in their homework or projects. For your younger ones, make the time to read with them and when they are older - ask them about their projects and if you can read it for them. Let them know you are interested in what they are doing and want to look at their work. It is a great opportunity for bonding and praise.
TIME TO PROCESS: Many parents find that during school time, sleep patterns, dinner time routines and even children's behaviour can vary. Especially at the beginning of term, lots of children are more tired and parents are trying to adjust back to school hours. Despite this, it is important to factor into your evening routines a chance for your children to talk about their day - what they enjoyed, who they hung out with, what the teacher said. If there is something particularly exciting or different happening the next day, it is worth talking that through as well. Finding time to process can be tricky but without it, lots of children are waking up in the middle of the night to do just that.You can use the opportunities presented at dinnertime, bath time, bedtime or even homework time to have these conversations.
Hope the transition is smooth and kids settle into a wonderful term ahead.
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