Posted: 03 September 2019

How to support your child through their first week back at school

Returning to school can be exciting, but it can also be a cause of stress and anxiety. Some children will be facing the prospect of change - be it new teachers, new classmates or even a new school.

The signs a child is struggling may not always be obvious but it's important we are are able to support them through this uncertain time. We asked Andrew, who is 21 years old, to share his top tips on how to support a young person through their first week at school.

Top tips for supporting your child through their first week at school

1. Do the basics

The best way to help your child prepare is by introducing healthy routines they can rely on. If they eat well and get a good night's sleep, they are better prepared to deal with any worries they might have.

Set eating schedules and suggest bedtime habits - this will help the child order their week and feel more in control of their day-to-day. This sense of control often helps with feelings of stress and anxiety. 

2. Be open to talk

Many children may develop unhealthy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, often by bottling emotions. It's important parents maintain a dialogue with their children so they can identify when they are struggling.

Ensure you make time to talk to your child  - some children like to talk privately, others are better at opening up when distracted (for example, whilst cooking or walking). Either way, make sure your child knows you are open to listening - it's important they feel they can share their worries.

3. Worrying is normal

If your child does open up about their worries, you can reassure them that being nervous or anxious during your first week at school is completely normal. You could talk through the reasons why they are worried and think of ways to cope with their feelings.

It's important not to deny their feelings but instead to problem solve and help them find solutions. 

4. Respect their independence

It may be tempting to ask your child a million questions when they get home from school, but it's important you respect their indpendence and give them some time and space to unwind.

Learning about their friends and teachers is really important but don't push it. Over time, you will learn about the personalities at their school and this will help you respond to any difficulties they may have. However, don't grill them about all the different people when they first start, they are still working things out as well. 

5. Be positive

Whilst there may be many causes for worry during the first week back at school, there may also be positives. Try to ask questions that encourage a more positive way of thinking. For example, 'who was the best teacher you had today?' or 'what course are you most looking forward to?'

Equally, when waving them off to school, try to be very upbeat and start them off on the right foot. 

There you have it - a young person's top tips for supporting your child through their first week at school. It can be a difficult time for both young people and parents but it's important you're both open to talking and listening to each other. Only by listening to young people can we help them overcome the challenges they face.

As well as concerns at school, you can find out more about what worries young people today by reading our Good Childhood Report.




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