Back To School Blues
After a record breaking summer where people across the UK have enjoyed a prolonged period of dry and sunny weather the month of September will arrive all too quickly.
The month which heralds new starts for families can be a bittersweet one. As children start school for the first time, move to ‘big’ school or perhaps even fly the nest to University, parents and children need time to adjust to new routines in their homes.
We share our top tips for coping and making September a month that heralds new beginnings and a new chapter in our lives that we can all be proud of.
FIRST STEPS TO FREEDOM
Saying good bye to little ones when leaving them at playschool, childcare or nursery for the first time can be a traumatic experience for young and old alike, yet it is an important step towards their adult freedom and confidence.
Perhaps one of the most important elements is the social interaction that they will gain and the initial skills that they need for learning – sitting still, listening and engaging with others.
For parents who are not at work perhaps it could be the time to schedule in those little jobs that have got neglected or for working parents who are distracted by the big event, a quick call can put minds at rest.
Many schools welcome children prior to their first day and offer some sort of gradual transition to try and make the move to primary school a positive one.
Reception year is tailored to ensure the balance of play and learning is a carefully crafted one; giving children structure to their days and encouraging those first signs of independence such as going to the toilet on their own, getting their own lunch and having to tidy things away; all little life skills that give them the confidence to deal with the bigger ones as and when they come along.
You will find that for the first few weeks they are incredibly weary so it’s important to establish a regular bed time routine, make sure you get to spend some quality time together each evening and that you feed them a healthy meal so they can fully recharge.
At this age, you may find that the students take to secondary school easier than the parents do! Many will find that they have outgrown their primary schools and flourish when they are challenged by the extra independence, more varied learning and new friendship that they forge.
It’s a time when hormones are raging yet studying and doing their best is required. Make sure you encourage them to socialise, support them in their conflicting emotions and an interest outside school – so they have more friends and gain more life skills – is probably one of the most important elements to riding the rollercoaster of secondary school.
Coping with all these teenage changes can be challenging but keep open the lines of communication and try and be patient, even when that feels like a challenge in itself!
FOR THE LAST TIME
It is a very proud moment when children leave for University and as they embark on the next stage of their learning and development. For most though, this will mean leaving home for the first time; a scenario that is exciting and often a little daunting.
As a parent it may be that you can’t wait; it may be that you are dreading the day – but whichever applies to you it is important to ensure you offer the individual support that your child needs to ensure they settle quickly and don’t suffer from home sickness.
Openly discuss what they expect from you – do they want you to visit; do they want to be able to come home whenever they feel like it? Do they want you to check on them each day or will you just speak once a week? It’s important to lay down some ground rules and expectations which will minimise anxiety and disturbance often experienced by all parties.
Settling them in their new home can be one of the most important elements of ensuring the transition is a smooth one, a few home comforts and favourite things can make a huge difference.
At whatever age you find yourself saying good bye to your children as they leave the family home remember to always be proud. Proud of what you have achieved, proud of what they have achieved and proud that they will always come back to a happy home.