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Headteacher's blog: Top tips for settling in to school

Lisa blog2By Mrs L Brown, Redmaids' High Junior School Headteacher

The Summer break is an excellent opportunity to recharge, relax and change routines. For most children it marks a time of change, whether a new year group and classteacher or a new school in September. Even as a classteacher, I would be nervous each September, welcoming a new set of parents and pupils, wanting to do my very best for each and every one of them.

That curious sense of anticipation that we all recognise where we have a mixture of feelings; nervous but excited, different but familiar and being unsure of new expectations.

For many, change can be uncomfortable but don’t underestimate your children. Within moments of leaving them in their new class or school, they are immersed in activity, usually smiling and laughing with others. You, meanwhile, take with you the last moments of parting and needless worry. Be positive yourself and your child will pick up on this.

My top tips for settling in:

-Acknowledge feelings of excitement or worry in your child, but don’t dwell on them, overthink or analyse too much. Let them know it is normal to feel like that.

-Make play dates during the holidays with children in your child’s class if you can to create/maintain friendships. If this is not possible, make play dates as soon as you can in the new term to give your child the opportunity to further friendships in a more intimate setting.

-Don’t over-question and analyse what has happened at the end of each day. If you are relaxed, your child is more likely to be. No news is good news!

-As a parent, you will need to settle into new routines and friendships too. Make links with other parents and model how to make relationships for your children. If you can, be at the school gate or join the WhatsApp group. Take advantage of any events the school provides to welcome you into the new routines or community.

-Value the expectations of the school and mirror them with your child. Support your child by letting them know you appreciate their efforts at school. Help with homework, spellings or reading so that they feel secure when going into school. We all know how it feels to arrive somewhere unprepared and on the back foot from the start.

-Communicate with school. Let the teacher know if there are any issues or concerns as soon as possible so that they can be addressed quickly. It is much easier to deal with things straight away, rather than allow them to grow. However, as your child settles, encourage them to be independent and problem solve for themselves, which will empower them.

-If your child is anxious in the mornings, try a different routine. Can someone else take them to school? Can they walk with a friend? Can the school arrange for a buddy to meet them to settle them into the classroom? Make sure you pack the bag the night before and have a timetable by the door with things to remember each day. Feeling organised and ready makes children feel secure.

-Children respond well to routine. If your child is anxious, create a routine with expectations and rhythm. An essential is a regular bedtime with the opportunity for good quality sleep. Everyone is more resilient and ready to face the day after a good night’s sleep! Please don’t underestimate the impact that sleep has on your child’s school experience. A bonus is time for yourself in the evening as a parent too!

-Be mindful of how many out of school activities your child is participating in whilst they are settling into a new school or year group. Perhaps it is best to increase these once they have settled in or miss the odd session at the start of term if they are tired. One missed session won’t matter when they are 16!

So, find time to listen to your child, be reassuring and relaxed yourself. Nothing is better than a snuggle on the sofa at the end of a busy day. Good luck in the new school year, have fun and enjoy all the new things your child, and yourself, will be learning.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our Autumn Term Junior School visiting events. Click on the link below and select the event you wish to attend.

Book a visit

Date Posted: 3 August, 2022

Articles for: Topic, Junior

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