No matter what age your children are, if they are returning to School in the next few weeks, it may bring some anxiety, upset, and even anger.
For many Parents the summer holidays are a break too, if you work outside the home or not, there is less structure in the child’s or teen’s day, less need for clean uniforms, lunches, and homework to be done. So, we all must adjust back to the routine in the coming weeks. Here are the top tips we find help our own families and children and teens we work with.
- Preparation – there is no point ignoring it. Talk about the return to school and how much time is left. Get your children involved in hanging up uniforms or finding lunch boxes/ drink bottles. Ask them to look through their school bags and clean them out, organise pencil cases, to make sure they are mentally ready for the change. We need to get them thinking about school again. I encourage my kids to label their new copies and books and put them into the bags ready to go on the first day. If they are going to Secondary School have a look at our blog and video on this topic.
- Body Clock – There is no doubt that many families will have to adjust to going to bed earlier at night and getting up earlier in the morning. Our sleep, or lack of it, can dictate our mood for the day. Decide if you want to make some gradual changes over the coming week or two so that it is not a complete shock to the system. Source alarm clocks that will waken your child or teen. There is enough pressure on parents each morning with out having to physically wake each child up (several times) and try to persuade them out of their comfortable beds. Can you come up with a reward system if your child can get themselves up, washed, dressed and fed. Perhaps the reward is screen time, money or treats, or a family day out, whatever you decide on, make it entice and agree it beforehand. I personally have used freshly made pancakes with Nutella, on some occasions, to get my children up and ready. However, it’s not a good habit and husband won’t be happy about the sugar content, so I will try to come up with something that we all agree on.
- Make the most of it – Enjoy what’s left of the holidays and do what you can to make it fun. If possible, make plans to spend time together during the midterm breaks and school holidays throughout the year. Let them know that we all have to work hard, and that’s what school is like for kids and teens – it’s like going off to work. Sometimes they are surrounded by people that they don’t get on with, or that annoy them, and the work can, for some, be a struggle. Give them a break when they get home and don’t be upset if there are melt downs, home is there safe place, and they may have been holding it together all day.
- Hanging out /Play dates – Try to get your children to see their closest school friends if possible before they go back to school. If they live close to them get them out seeing each other face to face where possible, even if takes some bribery. Since the pandemic children go out less, a lot of them (and us parents) have a screen addiction. Invite friends to do something like go for an ice-cream or come over for pizza. They need to reconnect with their friends to help with the transition.
- Talk and Listen – Talk about the benefits of education, about how hard life is for children who don’t go to school; talk to them about any goals they might have in life and how school might help with that goal (even if their goal is to be a ‘You Tuber’ or a ‘Footballer’). Also discuss what are the good things that they enjoy about school. My son always replies to this with ‘break time and home time are the best things about school’… Talk to them about what they miss – seeing friends every day, playing in yard, maybe doing PE or Art? What, if anything do they look forward to? If we can get them to understand that they are not always going to like everything they have to do in life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do them. Maybe you could give them a hot chocolate in the evening and tell them how proud you are of them with getting back to the routine.
- Take a deep breath – All of us need to learn how to relax and calm ourselves down. It is a skill that is badly needed with today’s lifestyle. I think the best thing you can do to help your kids to relax and take a breath is do a guided meditation with them at night before bed. This not only helps them to get to sleep with some positive thoughts in their head, it teaches them to relax their body and mind so that when they need to take a breath at a stressful moment their body and mind knows what to do. At the Confidence Clinic classes, camps and coaching sessions we teach kids that when they are worried / angry / frustrated they can learn to recognise times when taking some deep breaths will help them.
If your child or teen needs any help transitioning back to school, we are open for Life Coaching session online, and face to face around Dublin in Skerries, Naas, Stillorgan and Palmerstown. Watch out for our Confidence Club weekly classes returning to Skerries, North County Dublin.
All the very best of luck to all your children in their new school year.