September may mark the return to school, but it’s far from a return to normality. With many children anxious about missed time, or new challenges ahead, here are our top tips to help navigate the coming months.
Know the signs of stress
Loss (or increase) of appetite, trouble sleeping, appearing withdrawn or tearful and repeating negative thoughts are just some of the signs of stress. Keep an eye on your child and be particularly vigilant for changes in mood or behaviour.
Make time to talk
While we’ve all spent more time together than usual, we know that doesn’t necessarily equate to quality time. As you resettle into the school routine, make time to talk to your child about how they’re feeling. Share how you’re feeling too, so they understand they’re not alone.
Return to a routine
The lack of routine over lockdown has been one of the biggest challenges for children, particularly younger ones. Embrace the return to school and extend this routine to the rest of your family life, with earlier bedtimes, regular wake-up times and more structured days – even at the weekend.
Share coping strategies
Perhaps you meditate. Or go for a run. We’ve all developed our own ways of coping with anxiety, so talk about these with your children. They might learn a few techniques that will help them too – but most importantly, it will normalise their feelings of uncertainty.
It’s been hard to see a way forward over the last few months, and while there’s a long way to go, try to make the return to school the start of a new chapter. There may be new school activities for your child to look forward to. Or family fun planned for the half-term holiday. Try to look ahead to the positive things still to come this year.
Seek help if you need it
One thing we can all be certain of in this most uncertain time is that we are not alone. And while everyone will react differently, every reaction is legitimate. So if you or your child are struggling to cope, don’t be afraid to seek further help. Whether that’s through the school, a mentor, online resources or even your GP, you don’t need to struggle in silence.
If there’s anything we can do to help support your family as you transition back to school, please just let us know. And do read this month’s expert insight from Career and Wellbeing Coach, Katie, who shares some excellent ideas for supporting your child through this time.