Heading to school for the first time, or heading back to school can be a daunting time for students and for parents. Below are some tips that you might find useful to help you get back to school.
1. Try not to pay too much attention to your mind when it starts to compare you to others. Easier said than done, yes, but whether you’re a parent who is reading this, or a student, the advice stays the same. Comparing yourself to other parents or other students can create a sense of dread, especially if your mind has judged you as not being “good enough”. You can thank your brain for the judgemental thoughts that pop up, and be in the moment of being engaged with the other parents or students around you. It will take a lot of practice, but doing this could create a helpful perspective and a healthy distance between you and unhelpful thoughts.
2. Try to be organised with your time, especially for the first day so you don’t feel overwhelmed. The first day of school for both parents and students can bring an intense set of emotions, which means that the logical/rational part of our brain won’t be working so well. If you can try to be organsied ahead of time, then you can be hopeful that when your emotions take over, you’ll be able to focus on them without worrying that you have forgotten something.
3. Make sure you and your children get enough sleep before the big day.
4. Make sure to get in some breakfast on the day, even if it means waking up 10-15 minutes before your children do.
5. Keep the morning routine calm and try to limit screen time or eradicate it completely if possible.
6. Get to know the teachers. Spending some time to get to know the teachers can help in making sure that you feel comfortable and confident in approaching them when you or your child need support with things.
7. Try to get there a few minutes early for school pick up.
8. Ask your child specific questions about their school day. Asking open ended questions can prove difficult to answer as there are so many things that happen during the school day that children can find it difficult to know where to start. Examples of such questions are: “tell me two things you did today at lunch time”, “what was your favourite part of the day today?”, “Did you meet any new people today? Tell me about one of them”.
9. Encourage a good after school routine. This could include a snack straight after school, followed by some down time (not including screen time), then homework time and their normal evening routine after dinner.
10. Lastly, try not to put too much pressure on your self to either keep up with the other parents, or to keep up with the other students. Try to do the best you can. That’s all anyone can ask for.
Some children and teenagers have difficulties with heading back to school, which could lead to school refusal. If you and your child are experiencing difficulty and need support then give us a call on (03) 9882-8874.
~ Dr Celin Gelgec and the team at Melbourne Wellbeing Group.