The holidays are over and school is back in session. While we, as parents, may be grateful for the return to routine and some peace and quiet, strangely enough, our kids may not share in our enthusiasm.
Many kids become unsettled, stressed and worried with the return to school. Some of these feelings may resolve during the first weeks back, as routines are bedded down and order is restored. However, it’s not uncommon for some students to feel down beyond those first weeks back at school.
Signs that your child may be experiencing the back to school blues include school refusal or a reluctance to go to school, trouble sleeping, headaches or stomach aches (often from stress and anxiety), lack of appetite, general unhappiness and disinterest or boredom in everyday life.
No-one wants to see their child struggle through the back to school blues. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help ease them back into school life and minimise these feelings of dread and unhappiness.
5 Tips for Beating the Back to School Blues
Ease Back Into After School Activities
The school day can be long, tiring and challenging for kids. A day of learning, social interaction, managing behaviour and dealing with emotions can exhaust the most energetic of children. If you feel your child may be struggling to get back into the groove of life after school holidays, go easy on them and consider easing back into after-school activities. Giving them extra time to rest, recover and relax after a busy school day might be enough to help ease them back into school life and ward off the back to school blues.
It might be an idea to talk to your child’s teacher and negotiate for homework to begin later in the term, to give them time to get back into the swing of things. Another option is the discuss the amount of homework expected and agree to limit this amount for the first few weeks. Kids can become easily overwhelmed when everything is thrown at them at once. Take things slow and ease them into homework, to reduce the chance of anxiety and overwhelm.
Provide lots of quiet time
Our kids soak up so much information each day at school, it’s no wonder they can come home cranky, annoyed and ready to explode. Anticipate their needs and give them quiet time each afternoon to calm their minds. Hold off on demanding too much for them until they’ve had the chance to cool off and settle down. Set a timer for 30 mins when they get home from school and let them do their own thing before getting them to complete chores, attempt homework or head out of the house.
The shock of moving from the freedom of holidays to the confines of school life can play a big role in the back to school blues. One way to avoid this is to introduce routines into holidays, to minimise this shock to the system. Stick to consistent wake-up and bedtimes to help lessen the shock. Establish some structure to each day so it’s not so big a change when they return to timetabled classes. Keeping to a morning and afternoon routine during school terms can also help lessen daily anxiety.
Listen with love & patience
It’s important to take the time to talk to your kids and listen to them with love and patience. It’s possible they don’t know how they are feeling or won’t be able to describe it, making it impossible for you to identify the source of their anxiety and behaviour. Sometimes, all we can do is listen to them with love and patience. Be their safe anchor, reassure them that you are there to help them and remind them this feeling won’t last forever. Often this is the best way to help our kids survive the back to school blues.
You may also like to read: