GOING BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER THE LONG SUMMER HOLIDAYS IS SOMETHING THAT AT A LOT OF PARENTS LOOK FORWARD TO. HOWEVER FOR PARENTS WITH CHILDREN WHO ARE VERY ANXIOUS OR ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM THIS IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.
Your child craves routine and structure yet they struggle with the pressures that being at school brings. Equally as a parent you are longing to be able to just nip out when you need to without having to give warnings or add it to the daily timetable yet the thought of having to deal with the emotional responses triggered by a day at school also feels you with dread.So what can be done to make the transition back to school a lot smoother for everyone?
First of all keep talking about it, this doesn’t need to be big conversations but by casually mentioning school helps your child to see that school is still there and they will be returning. Talk about school in a positive way, remind your child how well they did in the previous year and that they are definitely ready for the next year group.
If this school year means a new type of school uniform have it hung up somewhere that they can see it, again this shows that the change is coming and gives extra processing time.
If possible have conversations with your child about what they would like their new teacher to know about them, create a list so they can give it to the teacher on the first day. I created a back to school pack for those on my newsletter list and this included a personal profile page that can simply be completed. If you would like to subscribe to our regular newsletter and receive yours please copy and paste this link. https://mailchi.mp/b0ce1a6f90bc/aiw-vip
Have a plan of fun activities that can be done after school. Sometimes knowing that there is something more interesting happening after school can be enough of an incentive to give the day a go.
It’s so important to acknowledge your childs feelings, it really won’t help telling them to get on with it, or that they are being silly by feeling anxious about going to school. Have a chat about things that make them feel happy, it may be worth creating a keyring or small notebook full of favourite things that they can place in a school bag and have to look at any time they feel worried or anxious whilst at school. My son took photos of his scooter, family and laptop to school for a year as a tool for self regulation.
Try to keep things positive, as a positive mindset is so powerful. Talk about the good things at school even if it’s just the lunch. I am sure that even if your child really struggles with school you can come up with a list of positives. Once you have these things let them be the focus of all back to school conversations. Doing this exercise will also help you as a parent to feel less anxious as you too will see the positives of going back to school.
If you have any other back to school tips please do share them. I shall be hosting a back to school support live chat within our private VIP facebook group so if you would like to join us please copy and paste this link for membership details. https://www.aiwmk.co.uk/vip-facebook-group.html