How to beat the Back-to-School blues
Posted 13/09/2013 by BrightHouse Team
When you’re an adult, it’s amazing how six weeks can pass in what seems like the blink of an eye. However, when you’re a child the summer holidays feel like a glorious eternity of lie-ins and leisurely days – and it can be quite a shock to the system when the new school year rolls around.
Many children find the first few weeks back at school difficult to adjust to. It’s not uncommon for kids to act out during this period; some become clingy and easily distressed, while others become sulky and uncooperative. These problems can be even more severe if children are starting school for the first time, or moving to a new building.
Fortunately, the majority of children will settle back into their routine before long, but you can help to speed up the process – and hopefully spare yourself a few tantrums - by following a few simple guidelines.
Establish a routine
If your child has spent the summer getting up and going to bed whenever he or she pleases, it can be tough to get back into a healthy sleeping routine, which can in turn make your child tired and irritable. Computer games and TV can keep children stimulated when they should be winding down, so try to establish a rule where all electronics go off at least half an hour before bed. Be consistent and make sure bedtime is the same time every night, so that it feels like a natural part of the day rather than a punishment. If you have a favourite show that your kids find painfully boring, watching it around their bedtime can help them to feel that they’re not missing out on anything!
Talk through their worries
If the thought of going to school makes your child nervous or upset, talk to them to find out why. Younger children tend to think in very black-or-white terms, so they’ll either love school or decide that they hate it. Remind them of the good things – their favourite class or playing with their friends. If there’s a genuine problem such as bullying or a teacher they don’t like, talk to the school and make sure the issue is addressed. Bullying UK offers excellent advice and support for parents of bullied children.
Arrange a weekend treat
One reason many children find going back to school depressing is that it feels like the end of a summer of fun. Arrange a treat such as a day out within the first few weeks of going back, so your children have something to look forward to. There’s still time to catch the last few sunny days of the year, and many resorts offer excellent discounts during off-peak times. Remember that if you’re a member of our BrightBonuses scheme, you can get free discount vouchers to key attractions all over the UK.
If you can find something your child likes about school, you can help them to look forward to it a little more by encouraging it. This can be as simple as letting them pick out a new school bag for themselves. Find out what their favourite subject is – if they love art treat them to some new drawing equipment. If they’re enthusiastic about English, let them pick out a book. If there’s even a small part of their school day that children can get really excited about, the whole experience quickly starts to feel a lot more pleasant for them.
Ask about their day
At the end of the school day, set aside some time to talk to your child about what they did and how the day was. Ask them questions and show a genuine interest – this helps them to see school as a truly worthwhile experience. If they had a good day, find out why – and remind them of all these good things next time they complain about having to go in! For most children the thought of going back to school is far worse than the reality, and most children will be in a much more positive frame of mind at the end of their day than they were at the beginning. If they’re still unhappy or withdrawn, this may be a warning sign that there’s a more serious issue affecting them, which might mean it’s time to talk to the school to address any problems.