Most kids in Ghana in few days’ time will be going back to school. During time, man of such kids will be going through mix of emotions .
Easing back after the holidays can range from feeling really excited and eager to concern, fear or anxiety. Getting worried about going back to school is common.
Among the biggest worries is feeling left out, being teased or saying goodbye to their caregiver at drop off. Another major concern for students will be that of examination and problems with teachers. Others at this time will feel lonely and isolated.
For teens, the major concern will be how to overcome stress and mental health issues.
Not thinking about school until it is time to go back is one way to enjoy the session. But for some, this can make going back to school more difficult.
Let us take a look at some few things you can do to make this transition easier:
- Get a routine
Create a routine about going back to school. As you create this routine, be guided by your knowledge and history of what best supports your child during times of change and transition.
Your routine can include:
- what needs to be done each day for school like getting up, eating breakfast, dressing
- what help does your child need from you to get ready?
- what they can do on their own?
The first week back can cause disruption from being in holiday mode so don’t forget healthy habits around sleep, exercise and diet.
Having consistent bed and wake-up times helps too. Expert suggests starting two weeks before the first day of school to set sleep routine habits. But a week beforehand will help get your kid on their way.
In some homes, parents go back to school with their children.
Consider adjusting your own schedule to make the transition smoother. If you can’t in the mornings, arrange the evenings so you can give as much time as your child needs, especially during the first week.
- Talk about going back to school
Most children deal with some level of stress or anxiety about school. They have insight into their school experiences, so find out what worries them by asking directly.
You can offer support by normalising experiences of worry and nerves. Reassure your child the feelings they have are common and they will likely overcome them once they have settled in.
Worries and courage can exist together.
Depending on your child’s age, you can also try the following to help:
- early years/pre-school – write a social story about going to daycare or school and the routine ahead
- primary years – set up a peer-buddy system where a peer or older child meets yours at the school gate or, if neighbours, kids can go into school together
- secondary years – establish healthy routines as a family. Support each other around technology use, sleep and schoolwork.
- Tour the school
If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go. Familiarizing your child with her environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground.
With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory and yours.
- Connect with friends
A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
- Tool up
Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.
School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used.
Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as colored pencils or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.
Read Also: Would Your Child Benefit From Home Tuition?
- Help create a sense of school belonging
A sense of belonging at school can affect academic success and student well-being. Parents can facilitate positive attitudes about school by setting an encouraging tone when talking about it.
Also, show an interest in school life and work, and be available to support your child both academically and socially.
More than half of the parents in a survey said homework and schoolwork were the greatest drivers of stress in their children. When parents are more engaged in their child’s schoolwork, they are better able to support them through it.
- Look out for signs of stress
Research suggests parents can miss stress or anxiety in their children. Parents can spot stress if their child:
- is more clingy than usual or tries to escape from the classroom
- appears restless and flighty or cries
- shows an increased desire to avoid activities through negotiations and deal-making
- tries to get out of going to school
- retreats to thumb sucking, baby language or increased attachment to favourite soft toys (for younger students).
If these behaviours persist for about half a term, talk to your classroom teacher or school well-being coordinator about what is happening. Together work on a strategy of support. There may be something more going on than usual school nerves, like bullying.
- Encourage questions
Encourage questions children and teens may have about the next term. What will be the same? What will be different?
Often schools provide transition information. If the school hasn’t, it might be worth contacting them to see if they can share any resources.
Most importantly, let your child know nothing is off-limits to talk about. Set up times to chat throughout the school term – it can help with back-to-school nerves.
- Chat about today’s events and tomorrow’s plans
While it is important to support learning throughout the stay at home period, don’t spend the last weeks of your time reviewing last year’s curriculum. All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute drills can heighten anxiety, reminding them of what they’ve forgotten instead of what they remember.
- Ease into the routine
Switching from time at home to a school schedule can be stressful to everyone in the household.
Avoid first-day-of-school confusion by practicing your routine a few days in advance.
Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time.
Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.
In a few days from now, many kids will be going back to school, especially those preparing for examinations.
If your child is among these kids, what are you going to do to help make this transition easier?
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