childstress in schools

beginning of term

All change causes stress, and the beginning of terms and particularly the beginning of the school year are pivotal points for change. They raise anxieties about the transition from home to school. Even when a child appears happy to go back to school, there may feelings of loss, such as the loss of freedom and lack of routine. Children develop an internal clock, which is upset by the holiday period. It may take a time before their internal clock is back in keeping with the school timetable. They may feel disorientated, grumpy or flat until they adjust to the school lifestyle again.

smoothing the transition

Watch their body clock: Try allow freedom and flexibility into the few days of term and get into some routine at the end of holiday. Ease them in gradually to the school routine.

Gearing up for changes at school: Towards the end of holiday, ask "What is the same?" and "What is going to be different?". They probably have a new teacher, and they will probably change classroom and where they sit in the class. Remind them of children or teachers that have left. Talk about the changes and reassure them that some things will still be the same.

Acknowledge the Loss: At the beginning of term, children will miss family, siblings, pets and toys and the constant access to them. They miss the freedom to do as they like, which is part of the holiday period. Acknowledge that it is a bit sad to say good bye to the summer. Look over holiday photos and talk about what they have done in the time they have been off school.

starting at school

Remember how you started at school. Talk about it with another adult. Be careful about how use your experience to help your child.

Encourage playing school at home with siblings or toys. Let them be the teacher so that they can be in control.

Equipping the child: Make this time fun and special. Let them choose at least one thing that is new and what they want to wear, even a pair of socks or a new hair band.

Meet the teacher: Make an effort to meet their new teacher, as early as you can in the term. Talk about the teacher at home to make them seem more familiar.

Keep each other in mind: Tell your child what you will be doing during the day. Say that you will be thinking about them. Make sure they know exactly who will be collecting them at the end of their day.