Back to school survival
Adjusting to new schedules, expectations, and environemnt can be difficult. Often when change occurs in a childs environment their behaviour can change as well. You may notice the child becoming more clingy, whiny, needy, or waking up at night. This is a childs way of seeking security during the transition back to school. Here are some ways you can help increase your childs security;
Maintain consistent routine
Review your child's new schedule with them and talk about the expectations ( for younger kids this can be done with a picture schedule, if you dont know the schedule ask the teacher or office for a basic outline....)
*for kids that are very anxious highlight the times of day you know they look forward to.
Go over drop off and pick up procedures; discuss who will take them and pick them up, if they are taking the bus who will they be going with? do a walkthrough with them.
Role Play going to school (wear their back pack, put things in cubbie\locker, setteling in the desk, going to recess, lunch) This is a great way to open discussion on any issues your child might be struggling with. For example when mom says "ok its luchtime" the child may respond " I hate lunch, I have no one to sit with". * For older kids you can obtain the same result by asking them to go through their schedule with you .
Have friends, family, and neighbours share their experiences with your child if they had the same teacher. Or try to obtain information from previous students to share with your child (example: ' I heard Mrs. Oren takes her class on a field trip to the museum! ) the more information one has the more secure they feel.
Physical touch increases security; a 5 minute massage (a few times a day and) at bedtime, a gentle backrub or "the shivers" will help increase security
for preschool kids see if they can bring a familiar soothing object from home, for older kids a love note or suprise joke from mom in their lunch....
Be Present for your child,showing them you are available and there for them
Most importantly stay calm and supportive ( the calmer you can be, the faster the stage should pass)
If done consistently behaviours should decrease after 2 full weeks of school. For those who are not in school during the High Holidays this may take a little longer( or you may see the same behaviours occur upon return from the Holidays). If behaviours increase or do not decrease after 2 weeks, further investigation and intervention may be required.
With love and patience (for both you and your child) the child will adjust and become secure in their new environment.