Change—whether big or small—can be stressful for kids. Going back to school means facing the unknown and adapting to a new situation. But there are simple steps you can take to help make their transition smoother.
Restart the routine a few days before school starts
Holidays help us recharge our batteries but they also change our schedule. In the days before school starts, take the time to gradually return to normal bedtime and morning hours. The kids will get a sense of security from the routine, be more rested and less irritable, and therefore better prepared to meet the coming changes.
Send something from home to school
Children transitioning from daycare to kindergarten or feeling anxious about being away from the family nest will be delighted to find familiar objects in their bag or lunch box. Having a photo of their pet or stuffed animal, of their family or home gives them something familiar to hold on to while they deal with a new, unfamiliar environment.
Prepare some lunch box games
Play is an excellent way for kids to relieve stress. Write a short riddle or pun on a piece of paper to slip into a lunch box. Children who are learning to read will be motivated to sound out the words, turning this into a fun learning opportunity.
Send little love notes
If your kids already know how to read, write them a note to say you love them and are thinking of them or to give them a little encouragement. Write it on colourful cardboard with fun drawings or—why not?—on fruit with a thick peel (orange, banana, etc.). You’ll be showing your affection and helping reduce their stress.
Move it, move it!
Exercise is an excellent way to release tension. Play ball, take a walk outside or have a dance party in the living room with your child. You’ll be reducing your own stress at the same time and modelling a positive attitude for your kids.
Save some time to do nothing
Kids like to move and be busy and stimulated but, like us, they also need quiet time and free time. Remember to keep a buffer period between coming home from school and homework. Plan times during the week where your kids have nothing on the agenda and time to “feel bored”: that’s when they’ll develop their imagination and recharge their batteries.
Wishing everyone a happy return to school!
*** MUST-READ: 6 great freezer-to-lunch-box ideas ***