The start of a new term can sometimes be challenging for parents and children. We asked our childcare experts what their tips are for helping everybody to ease out of the holidays.
The joy of routines
While a routine can often help children to feel content, it’s important not to forget to have fun too. Mary Poppins was right about that spoonful of sugar. A quick dance as you brush your teeth, fruit placed in the shape of a smile at breakfast time, a silly song to get dressed to, will all make a huge difference. Ask your child to decorate a box and at night time put in it everything they need for the school day. It should hopefully avoid looking for that one missing shoe at 8.15am.
Special bubbles at bath time and the promise of a story should be enough to help ease children towards a slightly earlier bedtime which will hopefully avoid some of the anxious feelings that tend to crop up throughout the school day when they’re very tired.
Things can feel a little awkward between friends after such a long time apart. Children expect to go back to exactly what they left behind in December and aren’t always able to articulate why they feel emotionally uncomfortable. If you can, arrange some play dates during the run up to the start of the new term.
During the play date, gently introduce the teachers’ names and some of the language used in the nursery/ school. It really helps with the transition and it’s a great opportunity to make a parent friend as well.
Calendars are great for any age as they break down the week/month/term and always give the child something fun to look forward to. Children love crossing off each day in the run up to something fun, just as much as us grownups. You can help them to make a calendar that they can see every day and make sure you pop a few fun activities in there for them to look forward to.
Take the lead from your child – some will want to look only a few days ahead, some will want to plan the year, but setting time aside to plan together will give them a feeling of control and make sure they feel heard.
After an extended period together, children often get a little separation anxiety from their parents when back at school. Maintaining a sense of connection throughout the day will help with those homesick moments. Sew their favourite button into their dress pocket for them to rub when they miss you, write little notes and doodles in their lunchboxes or pop a keyring on their school bag so they feel your presence.
Things always seem worse on an empty tummy, so fill it up with something yummy – WAY before you ask them how their day was. You’ll be surprised at how positive they suddenly feel when their mind is clear enough to remember all of the fun that they had.
By Danielle Maton-Kelly
Fully Qualified Teacher and Early Years Practitioner, specialising in early development and communication.
Owner of the Wedding Crecherz Over 14 years childcare experience and mother to three young daughters.