New term, back to school
After a summer break, thoughts are now turning to the new school year
Parents and children are likely to be anxious about returning to schools this year. Taking a little time to prepare for the change from the summer break to what will be expected in your school can help reduce your child's anxiety and enable them to have a good start.
In the summer, daily structures are often relaxed. Children may have different sleep patterns, more time choosing what they want to do, and a lot of time may have been spent outdoors.
The school environment makes very different demands such as:
- sitting still for periods of time
- wearing a set uniform
- concentrating for longer
- following instructions when asked
- adapting to a structured timetable
- separating from parents to interact with peers
- sharing adult attention with other children.
Some children may find it difficult to adapt to the school routine in the first days or weeks of September. Below you will find some useful tips on how to get your child ready for school.
Schools will update parents on specific opening arrangements before the start of the new term. Arrangements from September will be guided by public health advice. Keep a look out for messages, Facebook posts or information on your school's website to keep you up to date about what to expect. Arrangements will reflect each school's individual context.
‘Parents are vital partners in education. They influence their children’s attitudes about learning, and support learning at home’
Develop their social skills
Give your child a chance to meet or play with other children or to join in with team sports.
Help them to cope with separation from you
Spend some time away from your child, leaving them safely with someone else if they are young. In Nursery, they will need to be able to cope with a whole morning or more at a time, and staff will help you with some ideas for managing this.
Support them to be independent
Start by helping them to dress themselves, to put on coats or do up zips. You can then encourage and support them in doing other tasks, such as:
- carrying their own bags
- making their own lunches
- tying their shoelaces or ties
- organising their books, stationary or PE kit for lessons.
Encourage them to have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn
Adults can model being curious by asking questions, such as ‘I wonder if...’, or ‘How does that work?’ Try some quieter activities where your child has to stay in one place and focus, for example:
- reading stories
- completing jigsaw puzzles
- drawing or writing
- sewing or building something.
Re-establish regular sleeping patterns
This can be challenging, especially with teenagers or very young children. All children will adjust to this differently and some will take more time than others to make the change. The following activities may help:
- listening to or sharing stories
- reading books
- listening to soothing music
- lowering the lighting in the room
- taking time away from the blue light of screens or phones.
Get ready for uniform
Start talking about this early on and perhaps go shopping together for any new items. Take a look at the links below if you need some help with purchasing a school uniform. School handbooks or induction packs will tell you what you will need.
Bring back some structure
If your child has not been used to routine over the summer, then now is the time to reintroduce this. Consider designing a schedule together. It gives your child some ownership of what will happen and when.
Give your child opportunities to practice waiting for your attention. They will have to wait to speak to their class teacher at times. Help them to learn not to interrupt. Learning to wait for their turn to speak is another aspect of being patient and waiting.
On the buses
There are very explicit instructions around using the bus service at present. If you get the chance, practice using public transport before this is necessary.
Thinking about lunchboxes
Schools like to role model healthy eating. If the summer has meant relaxing the rigor, then perhaps start considering together some ideas for lunch boxes for the new term. There are some tips in the ‘Lunch boxes’ links below.