With the end of the summer holidays, the return to school is approaching for children. For mum and dad it means managing the commitments and emotions of what for some families is also a new beginning.
Holidays over, families prepare for the return to everyday life: parents at work, children at school, day care or kindergarten. The resumption can be difficult for adults. Let alone for the little ones!
The positive expectations are mixed with the fears of what for some is not just a normal back-to-school day, but the first day of a new journey, the first day in a new class or even the first day of school ever. Back to school thus becomes an event that affects the whole family - not just the children - both on the practical and emotional side with a wave of commitments and emotions all to be managed.
Back to school: a challenge for the whole family
In the USA they have dubbed it the 'Back to School Blues'. The term denotes a phenomenon that, contrary to what it might seem, is not just about school, nor even just about children. In fact, the back to school blues also impacts on mothers and fathers who, with the first day of school approaching, begin to experience abrupt changes in mood and increased tension, anxiety, and worries, as well as a baggage of things to do and organise to be ready for the new beginning.
The return to school can therefore be very stressful for both parents and children. Fortunately, children, especially in early childhood, cope quite well with the change. However, mum and dad must help them in this process by providing an environment that promotes resilience and encourages them to share and express feelings about the moment.
5 tips for managing Back to School successfully
The APA (American Psychological Association) has compiled a list of tips that families can follow to ease the resumption of everyday life and the return to school at the end of the summer holidays.
- Re-establish the school routine a week or two before resumption: from bedtime and waking up in the morning to organising the backpack.
- If your child will be attending a new school, organise meetings with new mums and dads a few days beforehand to start breaking the ice and meeting other mums and dads.
- Let your child tell you about his or her anxieties and worries about going back to school. Create positive expectations of the new beginning and then let your child tell you, day by day, how the new adventure is going.
- Let your child know that you are aware of what they are going through and that you will be there to help them at any time.
- When you realise you are in difficulty or simply have doubts, don't hesitate to ask for help by contacting school staff, a psychologist or even just by talking to other parents.
And are you ready for back to school? How will you cope with going back to school?