These last 12 months have been difficult to navigate and for so many they continue to be. Our normal get back to school routines this year might look a bit different for some as we continue to deal with COVID-19 to varying degrees around Australia. We’ve been relatively lucky here in Tasmania and as students return early next month here are some common tips for preparing your child for the 2021 school year.
Talk regularly about the upcoming school year
Check in every now and then with your child about school in a casual and cheerful way. How they cope with these conversations will give you clues about how enthusiastic or anxious they may be – or if they are just completely in holiday mode and unconcerned with the prospect of school. Reassure your child that it is completely normal to be worried or have butterflies and that a mix of emotions is most usual. Encourage your child to ask questions about the upcoming school year.
Sleep is often a routine that gets completely out of whack during the holiday period. In the week or two before school begin to re-establish a strong, consistent routine prior to bed. If bedtimes have crept later and later and wake up times are no longer anywhere near the time your child will need to get up for school begin to bring bedtimes back by 15 minutes or so each night. Start to introduce a consistent wake up time, which will mean the first week of school will be less of a shock to their bodies.
Set up a playdate with another student
Where possible organise a playdate with a classmate or encourage your teen to keep connected with their peers. Having recent connection points with peers can make adjusting socially to a new school year easier.
Support a gentle re-introduction to school
Aim to take your child with you to school or to collect school related items such as uniform, books and shoes. These brief contacts on school related tasks assist them in the mental transition from holidays to the idea of returning to school. Depending on the age of your child, a play or two within the school grounds can also assist with transitioning back to the new school year.
Remember that a new school year typically brings with it a mix of emotions from excitement to fear and anxiety. Reinforce that this is completely normal. For some children, there are more extreme reactions to the thought of returning to school. Seek help if your child seems completely overwhelmed. You can contact us on 6224 8555 if you have concerns about how your child is coping and we will do our best to provide the necessary support.