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Tips to help children get back into the school routine

Secondary Schools

Back to school - three words that strike terror and despair into the hearts and minds of children across the country. Three words, which like a magical spell bring summer to a crashing halt. Six weeks off would certainly be a long time for anyone - but for children it must be an Eon. Many of them will have grown an inch (or thereabouts) during this happy interim, and I remember one of the consolations of returning to school was seeing just how much my fellow classmates had changed.

Many children feel nervous about going back to school. Maybe they will be starting a new part of the curriculum, and are apprehensive about their new lessons. Or perhaps the will become part of a new class (or even a new school) and are nervous about meeting the other students. If your child is anxious about going back to school here are a few tips they could keep in mind, or things that you could help them with, that will hopefully make the experience less daunting for them.

First of all reassure reassure them it`s quite usual to be a little nervous about going back to school, and even those children who appear confident are almost certainly quite anxious about the holidays ending, and classes resuming. Once the first day is over though, they will soon realise there was nothing to worry about. They will even end up enjoying themselves, catching up with friends they haven`t seen throughout the summer, and sharing stories with them about what`s happened over the holidays.

If they usually take the bus in, you could (if possible) offer to drive them into school yourself. If they seem heartened by this idea, be sure that it does not become a regular habit. Let them know that it will just be for the first few days of term - after that they can resume their usual method of getting to school. They should not become too reliant upon you, and its important that they get back into their original habits once the term is underway, and their fears are allayed.

If your child is to be attending a new school you could soften their fears by performing a couple of `practice runs` in the mornings during the holidays. If they plan to take the bus you could travel with them on the route they will take, and if they will be walking in you could likewise join them on a `rehearsal` journey, working out the best route and joining them on a morning expedition. In this way come the first day of school they will have one less thing to contend with, and will start the day feeling confident, instead of anxiously wondering what bus they should catch, or what route they should take on foot.

Another good technique is to insist they adopt a school-time sleep-wake cycle a week or so before school actually begins. Admittedly you may encounter some resistance to this idea! but if put into practice it will prove hugely beneficial, as they will be set up with a full quota of sleep on those first days of therm, while their somnolent peers have body clocks still set to holiday time.

Other obvious tips are making sure your child has enough sustenance to get through the day. A hungry student will be in no state to absorb information, so you will want to ensure you pack some healthy and nutritious snacks for them. Fruit is a great option - it provides slow releasing sugar, so they don`t get an addicting spike (and subsequent crash) of sucrose as they would from a chocolate bar, while also being a source of healthy fibre, vitamins and minerals.

19 months ago