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happylittlegems wellbeing fact of the day:

It's very normal for children to cry or be reluctant to leave your side on the first day of school or for several weeks after.

So it's back to school time and you may be cheering 'Hooray, at last!' or it may be filling you with dread knowing your little one is starting school for the first time and you are really going to miss them. Or maybe back to school means back to your child becoming distraught at leaving you every morning and somehow you have to coax them in with the help of school staff. Whatever emotions you and your little one are feeling right now it's perfectly normal. I know it's hard when you watch other children kiss their parents, wave goodbye and walk happily into school with no fuss, while your child is kicking up the biggest fuss ever seen and you feel equally upset. You may feel that somehow you've failed or wonder why your child is always the difficult one, but be assured leaving your side to enter school after returning from a 6 week holiday to a new classroom and a new teacher is a big deal for any child of any age, not to mention starting secondary school for the first time. Here are some top tips of how to help your child settle into school, whether it be for the first time or the hundredth time!


happylittlegems top tips to help beat the back to school tears:

  • You may be feeling really anxious about your child starting school but don't show this. Try to remain calm and talk in a positive way about what the new school term might have in store. Think new friends, new topics, Harvest, Christmas...

  • If your child is starting school for the first time read stories about first days at school to prepare them for what it may be like, the BBC website has some good first day at school games for children.

  • If your child is anxious about school see if you can find a story book that deals with these emotions. Alfie Gives a Hand by Shirley Hughes is a good one, it's not about school but it shows him overcoming his worries and helping others to overcome theirs.

  • Explain to your child when you will be picking them up, they need to understand you are coming back. Use appropriate language depending on their age eg. after story time, or soon after lunch.

  • Talk to them about school. Try to find out if there's something they are unsure or worried about and see if you can help them or ask their teacher to help. Sometimes where the toilet is or how lunchtime works are big concerns for little ones. Teachers will go through all the school routines with the children on their first day, but sometimes it's helpful to know if children are really worried about certain things as they may then get more assistance with this particular thing.

  • Make goodbyes quick. The longer you hang around the worse it gets. You may feel awful leaving your child in floods of tears, screaming or sulking, but school staff will have dealt with this hundreds of times before and know what to do to distract and console children. Chances are they'll be fine 5 minutes later. If you're worried call the school to check.

  • Give rewards. If saying goodbye is a problem start a sticker chart or marble jar for every time your child says goodbye and goes into school without a fuss. But don't use the stickers as a bribe or give consequences if they do cause a fuss... remember they are only little and it's only natural that they will miss you.

  • If saying goodbye becomes a real problem talk to their teacher, there may be techniques he or she can suggest to help settle your child in the morning.

  • Be organised. Sometimes the smallest thing can set children off. Make sure they have all the kit they need for school as even forgetting their water bottle can be very upsetting. Remember anything that comes from home is a little bit of you coming to school with them, packed lunches can become their 'safety blanket'. But don't let them take toys to school as they can get lost and cause arguments between children.

For more information and advice please visit www.happylittlegems.com

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