by Dr Justin Coulson


The start of a new school year can be exciting, but it can also be an incredibly stressful time for parents and their children. A recent survey “Freedom for Fun” commissioned by Spacetalk, has revealed that over a quarter of Aussie parents are concerned about separation anxiety as their kids head back to school this year.

Happy Families expert and SPACETALK Ambassador, Dr Justin Coulson, a father to six girls has a number of tips that will help parents and their kids throughout the school year. These tips will ensure that parents feel in control and sane while allowing kids the freedom and balance they need to thrive.

His top tips include:

  • Be positive – So much of our mornings are all about correction. We get down on the kids, telling them to hurry up, find their shoes, get ready, and get out the door. This can actually cause unnecessary stress when kids are getting ready for school. Our children really do pick up on this, and it often makes them feel more nervous when they see a parent exhibiting different emotions. Children need positivity and kindness. It helps them feel secure at home so they can approach their day feeling safe and ready for whatever comes their way.


  • Stay connected – It’s important that parents have peace of mind whether their kids are at school, afterschool activities, or catching up with friends on the weekend. To ensure my kids have a sense of freedom, we’ve been using the Spacetalk Adventurer watch, which includes a GPS location feature, enhanced call and chat capabilities, SOS alerts, and school mode. Designed for school use, school mode is an app feature that allows parents to control the functions on their child’s Spacetalk watch.


  • Ease back into routine – Take the pressure off by creating margin, getting enough sleep, working together to make breakfast a family affair and lunchboxes enjoyable, and plan positive, energetic or artistic activities for outside of school hours.


  • School travel alternatives – Many kids get dropped right at the front gate for school these days, which can limit a kid’s ability to feel in control, confident or even overcome potential anxieties. If school is close by consider walking with them to school or drop them off a little way away from the school. It’s all about letting kids feel free and in control, with the added incentive of teaching them all about road safety. For those who still aren’t sure about travel alternatives, Spacetalk’s Adventurer watch will give you that much needed reassurance that your kids are travelling well, with GPS locating, and calling abilities available whenever you or your kid(s) need(s) it.

  • Have fun with school talk/routines – Kids can feel bored about the notion of school. Ease them into it. Encourage them to pick out their stationery and school supplies needed for the year or term, get them to choose their school lunch or organise their uniform for the week. For younger kids, it’s nice to integrate books that reference going back to school and routine.


  • Workspace – Kids are used to their own space at school when working, so it’s important that this is also integrated in the home. Decide on an area that they can use to complete homework, separating this place from a communal / fun space.


  • Reflection and learning – This allows your child the chance to reflect on their week and learn from things that challenged them and develop ways to resolve this. It also might be a good way for you to get involved, and show your child that like them, you also have challenges and learning opportunities each week.


  • Weekly check-ins – Often everyone gets so caught up in the to do list for the week that they forget to check in with one another to make sure everything’s ok. Whether it be organising a time each week to chat, or the car drive home from school, it’s important your kids feel they can go to you for anything relating to school.

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