Helping children stay calm as they prepare for back to school
This article has been written by parenting author and blogger Becky Goddard-Hill.
When we consider how Covid and the extended time off school has impacted young people fear and anxiety seem to be the most prevalent emotions.
A study of 2,000 mums and dads has revealed that 46 per cent of parents fear their child will always be 'behind' following the break.
The research, which was commissioned by Collins, also found 31 per cent of parents feel apprehensive and nervous about their child going back to school.
This does not necessarily bode well for a confident return to school.
As parents we need to focus on helping children stay relaxed as they prepare for back to school, we need to encourage them to look forward to it and to feel prepared.
Here are some things we can do:
Last minute scurrying around for uniform and shoes, revision guides and pencil cases will only add to a sense of anxiety about back to school for everyone involved.
Don't leave anything to the last minute getting ahead of the game and being well organised avoids a frenzy at the end of the school holidays and ensures your child feels everything is sorted and ready in relation to their school return.
Role Modelling a calm approach to back to school is very important too. In Collins' new activity book for 6-12 year-olds Create Your Own Calm, we look at how feelings are contiguous and this is especially true about fear.
If our kids are facing something they are scared of, they need calm and confident people around them (who don't smell of FEAR!)
One of the best ways we can help children stay calm is to let them see that we feel calm - we need to present confidently about them going back to school and to talk positively about it.
Another way to reduce fears is with exposure to them. Making school and all it entails familiar again can really help.
So if kids are worrying about social distancing and how they are going to manage that with their friends, then don't wait till back to school rolls around for them to face this. Invite one or two of your child's friends and family to meet you for a picnic and show your child that it's absolutely possible to have fun and socialise safely.
Do show your child how to manage their mask and hand santatising and talk through schools guidelines to keep them safe too. Let them try on their school uniform, start packing their pencil cases and practise the walk to school. Nothing needs to be brand new and faced on the day, exposing your child bit by bit to going back to school and all it entails will really reassure them.
Teaching your children some calming techniques will help them feel stronger and more in control if anxious feelings do bubble up.
- Self-hand massages
- Positive thinking exercises
- Problem solving techniques
- Muscle relaxation techniques
- Plus a whole range of creative ways to help children feel calmer such as baking, art, gardening and breathing well.
There are so many simple things you can do to help kids feel calmer about back to school.
Becky Goddard-Hill is also the author of Create Your Own Calm: Activities to overcome children's worries, anxiety and anger
For ages 6-12
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