Are your primary aged children feeling anxious about the return to school? I wrote a couple of years ago about how to help your child feel more confident about their return to school…
As our children get older we have less influence over things such as bedtime and they no longer need us to play in the bath with them! It can be so easy to become disconnected as they become more independent and the monotony of daily life gets in the way. But there are still things you can do. They’re perhaps less prescribed, and at times opportunistic, but you can still use the foundations of the Relax Kids sessions within your day to help you feel more connected to your child and to maintain a strong, healthy relationship.
So how? Here’s Relax Kids Darlington’s suggestions to help make going back to school a little easier for everyone.
Firstly, Have everything ready, including yourself, the night before – there is nothing anxiety feeds on more than a sense of panic because you can’t find the car keys! Start your morning with a “Reach for the stars” stretch together to help energise your bodies. If you sense that tension is rising instigate some deep breathing; use a feather, a ribbon or a tissue to focus the breathing out. Breath in confidence and breathe out anxieties, repeating I am calm as you breathe.
Daily positive affirmations. You can start off using those on the Relax Kids calendar for September but as you practise you will start to be able to set your own for the day.
A shared family affirmation gives something to reflect back on at the end of the day.
Get outside! Even if it’s just by walking to school (or parking further away than normal) or by sitting in the garden to watch the birds, the clouds or the sky turn pink. Get outside and connect with nature everyday together.
Have a chat! Take time at some point after school to talk about their day and find out anything that may be troubling them.
By making the time to find out if anything is worrying them you can stop problems from building up; you also help ensure they will bring their problems to you as they get older. If they are worried about school or homework help them break down tasks into mini-goals that are manageable. Also make a point of celebrating all the positives of the day and laughing about anything funny that’s happened.
Note…they need your complete attention for this. Don’t do them the disservice of asking them to sit down and chat then start checking your messages or Facebook!
Build relaxation into the bedtime routine. Maybe offer a hand/foot rub or face massage (not forgetting to get one back). And a huge hug! According to science we need 16 hugs a day to help us feel happy and fulfilled, this doesn’t change whatever your age!
Buy yourselves a special notebook and create an achievement journal. This is a great way for helping your child develop their self esteem as they start to acknowledge even the small things that they have achieved. At the end of the day ask them to write ( or tell you to write for them) 3 things they have achieved. They can be as simple as “I tried a pea at dinner time” or “I helped Jonny find his missing welly”.
Once it’s time for sleep play some relaxing music or do some reading with a night light (rather than tv). These help encourage a good night sleep.
And if they still want you to sit with them while they drift off then whenever possible stay with them; at times of big transitions they may need a little extra security!
You can get more tips by coming along to our Magical Adventures sessions which will be running on a Tuesday from 4-5pm at Brafferton Village Hall. The next theme is Ninja Adventures and looks to be great fun!
If you are unable to attend at this time but are interested please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate you!