Starting back to school is a big milestone in a child’s year. Whether it’s their first year of school, their last year of school, or any year in between, it can bring with it a lot of big feelings, expectations, and new experiences. As parents and care givers, it is important to acknowledge these changes and prepare to support our children as best we can.
Once the initial few weeks of the first term are underway, the routine will be more settled and the nerves will calm. It is important to be mindful that our children may be displaying signs of stress because of the change in routine and potential overwhelm of a new school year.
Children may act out at home because it is their safe place to stretch the boundaries after being at school all day listening to their teacher, minding their manners, and ensuring they are doing the right thing. It can be difficult for our children to articulate their feelings of stress. Stress can manifest feelings of discomfort that they can more easily explain, such as headaches or tummy aches. Some other signs that our children might be stressed can be displayed as:
- Mood swings,
- Acting out,
- Overreacting to minor problems,
- Bed wetting,
- Sleeping difficulties- going to sleep or waking in the night, or
- Frequent complaints of tummy ache or headache.
What can we do about childhood stress?
Try really hard to ignore the behaviour, it is a symptom of the stress, but is not the real problem.
Remain calm, sit with them quietly. Cuddles work well or even sitting down together to do a quiet activity.
Focus on what they can talk to you about, using their life experience and language.
Reassure them that they are loved and be there to support them as they need.
Providing children with the opportunity to understand life has stressors, but that there are ways to manage them appropriately and effectively with those around them, will help them tackle the next big day with a new approach. Like day one of Term 2!
We hope everyone has a wonderful start back to school, we know it is a busy time for everyone, but such an exciting time for the school age children.