Kids are about to return school and for some of you, it won’t be easy. Former school principal Simon da Roza has some advice to help parents deal with their child’s back-to-school anxiety.
The first day of the school year gets all the publicity, but its poor cousin – the first day of term two – is often just as challenging for kids. For some children, returning to school after a busy period of adjustment during term one, followed by the short Easter holidays, can be more confronting than starting term one.
Even the most resilient of students can find themselves braving bullying, academic failure, unmet expectations or stress during term one, only to relax over the April holidays and be surprised by inexplicable anxiety when returning for term two.
Whether your child breezes into the term, or comes up against delayed hurdles – some simple steps can transform a stressful start into a great experience.
Early education expert Simon da Roza offers 8 tips for an easy start to term two.
1. As a parent, your attitudes towards teachers and school are crucial to ensuring an excellent term.
Children learn from the moment they are born and have an endless appetite for finding patterns to make sense of their ever-changing and expanding world. They quickly learn to read your body language, tone and mood – and you are your child’s most influential teacher.
If you are feeling negative or apprehensive about the start of term, your children will pick up your feelings.
If you have spent the holidays openly expressing anxiety, disdain or nervousness about their classroom/teacher/fellow students/school rules or procedures, your child will look for problems there as well.
Consciously use your facial expressions, body language and words to convey a positive message.
2. Once you’ve set the tone, then create expectations.
Remember when you helped your child learn to walk?
You had the expectation that they would, you supported them, and encouraged them physically and verbally. You set little achievable tasks, celebrated their first small steps, captured those moments on-camera and proudly shared them with friends and family. You had expectations, you knew exactly what your child had to do, and you adjusted their environment to give them the best possible opportunity at success. You persevered through failures — and it worked.
It will continue to work as you empower your child, through feedback about their language development, physical development and other newly-acquired skills this term.