From the Counsellor's desk - Return to School
The summer break is well and truly over and we are back to school, homework, and many of the normal daily routines. Going back to school after weeks of fun and relaxation is never easy, but kids aren’t the only ones who struggle with it. Parents also find it difficult when their kids head back to school, and many experience emotions ranging from sadness to anxiety and even resentment.
With the holidays behind us, returning to school can involve a big adjustment. For those families who are new to PCS a special welcome. It’s going to be a busy time with lots of new things being added into the routine of school Hopefully getting well-prepared a few days in advance can make easing back into the normal school routine a lot less overwhelming for both parents and kids.
Easing into routine
This is a big step towards setting up our kids for success. Pick up time for our younger kids is always exciting as they get to go home and tell you all about their day but it’s also important that they are guided into the expectation of what’s going to happen when they get home. Whether kids are waking up in the morning before school, settling down for mealtime, going outside to play or getting ready for bed, they need routines to establish good habits. Kids don’t have a lot of control in their lives, but routines can give them a sense of organisation, stability and comfort. That, in turn, should help develop better behavior and a sense of personal control, especially in young kids. Routines not only have emotional benefits, but health benefits as well.
Encourage kids to set goals and take responsibility
Encouraging children to set goals and take responsibility for the upcoming school year is a great way to get them in the right frame of mind. Research shows that kids who participate in setting learning goals are consistently more motivated and take learning more seriously. It can be as small as just packing their backpack before bed each night.
Discussing school, talking about the different aspects of their day, finding out what they’ll be working on and if there’s anything specific they’d like to accomplish, keeps you as the parent / carer and the student connected to school. This connection helps to work together through a list of steps they’ll need to take to reach those goals.
Engage with their curriculum
Most kids deal with some level of stress or anxiety about school. One survey found helping your child set learning goals is always a good start to their learning. It’s always a good idea to talk to your child about what they have been learning, but if you can, try to speak with your child’s teacher as well. This will give you a chance to find out what you can do to support your child at home and also be aware of any specific areas they may need to work on.
Have fun with it
School days may not be as exciting as holidays, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a sombre or boring time. As long as kids have a good and consistent routine, have their immunisations and health checks completed, and are healthy and fit, school life can be enjoyable and something to look forward to. Mental health and wellbeing is key to good functioning.
A recent study into the factors which help children to thrive at school has found that strong and positive mental health (also termed mental health competence or social and emotional wellbeing) is an asset for learning. https://thesector.com.au/2019/10/04/positive-mental-health-is-a-key-ingredient-for-childrens-early-learning-study-finds/
Change is never easy for anyone, but hopefully these tips will help you embrace the new School Year and give you the assurance that we are here to support you and your child / children to have the best year they can.
Striving towards a healthy balance between home, school, activities and routines will help our kids and families continue to be a thriving Christ Centred community. Ps 121:1-2 'I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.'