CHILDLINE ADVICE: Help calm the nerves when it comes to returning to school
Parents and carers across the North East may welcome the return of their little ones to school this week, but for some children the end of the summer break may come with fresh anxieties.
Children may be nervous about starting a new school – especially if they haven’t been able to explore their new schools beforehand – and they might be worried about being around large numbers of people again.
They may be anxious about bullying, keeping up with schoolwork, or be concerned about their physical appearance after lockdown.
We also know that recent exam results could be a factor in anxiety ahead of the new school term -more than 40% of counselling sessions about exams we held across the UK between April and June involved young people speaking about their mental and emotional wellbeing.
It’s common for children to feel nervous about returning to school and could take time for them to feel comfortable – but you can help calm their nerves and ensure they’re prepared for the school term.
One of the most important things you can do is to help them get plenty of rest ahead of the return to school, and get them back into a healthy night time routine – suggest they spend time before bed without their mobiles, tablets, games or gadgets that could prevent them sleeping.
Looking ahead to the new term, ensure they’ve got the correct clothing, uniform and equipment ready, ensure they eat breakfast each morning, and if you’ve got younger children, talk them through how their new daily routine will work, including playtimes, lunch breaks and who will be picking them up after school.
Children may find it hard to talk about their concerns, so it’s important you’re patient and supportive until they feel ready to talk about how they feel. But if they still don’t feel able to speak to you about their worries, please let them know that Childline offers free, confidential support and advice on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk, where they can also visit the Calm Zone for tips and activities on how to destress, and moderated message boards where they can find peer support.