Portrait of young businessman with toy paper wings. Success, creative and startup concept.
It’s not long now until children in Australia return to school. For some it will be a smooth transition, while for other children (and their parents) it will be more challenging. My daughter is returning to school, just as she has done so many times before and it’s still an anxiety provoking experience.
So, I thought it would be useful to put together some practical suggestions to help you survive the first few weeks of school.
1. Several days before school commences, start getting your children back into a regular routine. It’s so easy to let this lapse over the holiday period. Have your children rise at the time they would for school and have them in bed at their regular bed times.
2. If your child is anxious about starting school take them to visit their school before the big day. Many schools will have provided the opportunity for this last year. Often schools will provide extra orientation sessions for anxious children.
3. Talk your child through the routine of their day, especially if they are having someone different drop them off or pick them up or they are going to before/after school care. Explain to them the routine of a school day and when they will have recess and lunch.
4. Buy lunch boxes and drink bottles that your child can open independently. Practise this at home so they will be confident doing this at school. Give them small amounts of food to eat at school as they only have 10-15 minutes eating times and you want them to have time to play.
5. Make sure your child can dress/undress themselves independently in their school uniforms. This will save time in the mornings and will help them feel more self-confident.
6. Be prepared. If you have to provide books and stationary make sure that your child’s books are covered and that everything is clearly labelled with their name already to go to school on the same day. Find something that is unique to hang on their back pack, so their bag is easily recognisable amongst the other 25 bags.
7. Work out your weekly schedule. This is especially important if you have several children. In term one, especially with our hot February weather children are very tired after school. Make sure your children have enough down time in their weekly schedule that you can just declare a “beach or pool afternoon.”
8. On the starting day make sure you are fully organised to ensure that your morning routine runs smoothly and that you arrive punctually at school.
9. Although you may be anxious and concerned about your child starting or returning to school put on a calm and positive face. Provide lots of reassurance.
10. And finally trust your child’s teacher and school. If your child doesn’t already know who the teacher is going to be, speak positively about the teacher’s they may have and be reassuring. Having worked in schools and with many fabulous teachers for nearly 30 years, I can assure you that children’s classes are very carefully chosen.
If you have any questions or if your child needs additional support, please feel free to contact us.
Written by Lisa Hughes
Senior Occupational Therapist at Occupational Therapy Helping Children