After a long summer, it can be difficult for children and parents to get back into the swing of school again. But for some students, those first day nerves and feelings of not belonging, remain – here’s what to look for and what you, as a parent, can do to help.
The start of the academic year is always daunting – a new class, possibly a new teacher and the structured routine of the school day is a stark reality check after a six or seven-week holiday.
With this in mind, feeling unsettled is to be expected (remember that first day in a new job?) and while some children will bounce back into the routine quickly within a day or two, it could take weeks for others.
Signs to look for
Some kids are better at pretending they’re okay more than others – and you’ll probably instinctively know when your own is feeling down but trying to put on a brave face. If you’re concerned about how your child is settling back in, look for:
- Changes in their behaviour – have they become moody (or moodier), unresponsive, or reluctant to join in activities they previously enjoyed?
- Anxiety – does your child suddenly develop a tummy ache or ‘not feel very well’ when you get to the school gates, or have they stopped eating breakfast?
- Clues in what they say – did they have a best friend the term before but now never mentions them – friendships do naturally run their course but coupled with other changes in behaviour, it might be a sign that they’re having trouble with friends.
What to do if your child is unsettled
The most important thing is not to worry – just be patient and calmly ask questions when the opportunity arises. Don’t force your child to tell you what the matter is as they’ll probably clam up and you’ll both end up upset.
If your child simply won’t open up, speak to their class teacher. Teachers and schools are usually only more than happy to help and take parental concerns seriously, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Schools will have dealt with hundreds of unsettled children and will have a good idea on how to coax your child back into the routine.
How you can make class and school transitions easier
If your child has any concerns or questions about moving up a class or changing schools, then answer them as honestly as you can.
If you’re moving to a completely new school, then practising the journey there from home can help by promoting familiarity (you’ll also be able to work out how long it takes because nobody wants to be late on the first day).
If you’re unfamiliar with the uniform, then visit the school website, they’ll usually have pictures of pupils so you can see the how the uniform has been interpreted. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but children rarely want to be the ‘odd one out’ so making sure they stick to the ‘norm’ can boost their confidence.
If your child is sporty, arty, or musical, see if the school has any extra-curricular activities. These are a great way for children to see school as not just about studying – but about doing things they love with others who share their interests.
Tackling curriculum confidence
If you’re concerned because your child has started to fall behind in lessons, then contact us to see how we can help. We provide additional tuition in a range of subjects within small tutor groups or one-to-one sessions.
All our tutors are qualified, classroom teachers who are committed to ensuring pupils have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Lessons are designed around individual students so that learning becomes fun and engaging – as well as educational.
For more information, fill in our contact form and we’ll reply as soon as we can, or call us on 07747 037441.