The lazy morning routines, mid-week day trips and family days out are behind us (for now) as we head into September and children and young people settle into school for another year. Now is the time to get the household back into a routine to make the whole process of ‘back to school’ a smooth one.
This time of year can be an extremely anxious time for children and looked after young people so we have put together some tips to help you, as a carer, make their transition from summer holidays to school as smooth as possible.
1: Develop a routine
Routines not only give children a sense of security, but also help to develop self-discipline. The “unknown” of going back to school and beginning in a new school year can be very daunting, help them combat this and deal with the change by developing a familiar routine. Talk it through as much as possible to decide what time is best to get them up in the morning, decide how they will get to and from school and establish when you can expect them back. This not only creates routine but also boundaries and a common understanding of what can be expected from both the child and the carer.
2: Talk it through
Whether your looked after young person tells you or not, they may have some concerns about heading back to the school environment. To address this ease the topic of school and their expectations into conversations. It’s important to be open to their opinion and be non-judgemental. If they express negative feelings towards school, talk them through together. Letting them know you understand and you’re “on their side” will work wonders and hopefully you will find a way to work through these worries together.
3: Get them involved
Little things like letting them decide what food they want to take to school, or what shoes they want to wear, will help them feel in control of going back to school. If they do want to drink energy drinks and wear shorts to school in the winter you may have to intervene, but if not, let them decide, and give them a sense of responsibility.
4: Build some excitement
Going back to school doesn’t have to be a miserable or anxious time. Instead, find out what extracurricular activities go on at their school and see if they would be interested in getting involved. Do they love sports, and is there a football, tennis, netball or rounder’s team? Or are they musical? Often there will be bands, musical groups or extra tuition they can take or get involved in. Find out if they .
5: Develop a relationship with the school
It’s important that you have contact links to your looked after child’s teachers and mentors so that you can let them know their circumstances and discuss with them the possibility of any challenges. Let the teachers know about the involvement you have in their life without breaking confidentiality. You should find teachers are very understanding and will work with them throughout the year to ensure it’s a successful one.
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