Back to School: Parents and kids (Sept 2016)

Its that time of the year when we as parents have to once again firm up the bedtime routine. It is that time of the year when the children get excited to see their friends again. For some children it is their first time at school, or a new start in middle or secondary school. Either way this is likely to be a worrying time for both parent and child.

We all do our best to prepare our children, hoping it is enough to quieten any anxieties. In our household my wife prepares a back to school meal to mark a new start. The kids also have the chance to find their new shoes for the year, the girl always looks for the shiny shoes and the boys always look for the shoes that flash! But sometimes we feel it may not be enough. 
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Here are a few more tips you can add to the good work you already do.

  1. Say it’s Ok. Children with anxiety can experience nightmares or a change in sleeping habits. You may notice a difference in their mood or they may start asking many questions about school. Listen to your children; validate their feelings and reassure them that it’s ok to feel this way! Let them know that many other classmates of theirs are experiencing the same feelings.
  2. Get connected. With new students, teachers and groups of friends that consistently change, kids may find themselves in a classroom where they don’t know anyone or they don’t have any friends. Try to find a class list or ask other parents which teacher their child has and arrange time for the kids to play together.
  3. Take Care. Sleeping enough, eating a healthy diet – especially a breakfast of balanced protein and carbohydrates – and getting plenty of exercise is imperative for brain function, mood, ability to sit still and pay attention in class. This is sometimes tricky, my children announce they are still hungry as they leave the house!
  4. Take Time. Set aside time each day to spend with your child. Make sure each child get their own time. Read a book, go for a walk or just sit and talk; children need attention.
  5. Praise. A child’s confidence can be significantly influenced by you as a parent. Praise your children, even with the smallest things. They can be often eager to please their teacher and peers but nothing compares to the uplifting feeling they get from you.
  6. Relax! Yes, this tip is for the parents! The kids going back to school can make it a hectic time for you as well, and kids can often sense this. Taking time to relax and recharge your own batteries is just as important for you as it is your kids.

Good luck this year!

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