Do’s and Don’ts for back to school?
Don’t keep talking about school all the time. Overloading your child and reminding them of school will only make them stressed.
Do have conversations that focus on facts and answer questions honestly
Don’t go out and replace everything.
Do let them use some familiar things from last year, e.g pencil case or lunchbox. This will help them reconnect to school as it actually is and remind them of the normality of their environment.
Don’t tell them how much you are going to miss them when they are at school all day.
Do explain the routine that will happen after school, “I will pick you up and we will go home and you can choose a snack”
Don’t make statements like “You won’t be able to do that next week at school “
Do discuss how our family routine will be different when we are all back at school.
Don’t dismiss your child or teens feelings
Do acknowledge them and normalise them. “Yeah getting back to school can feel weird”. “It’s okay to feel nervous when we are not sure what it’s going to be like”
Don’t make your anxiety contagious, our children are brilliant at picking up on our behaviour and if they think we are worried then they will believe there is something to be concerned about.
Do understand that is normal to feel overwhelmed when your child is about to do new things.
Don’t let the prediction cycle dominate your child’s thinking,
1. Last year was really bad so this year will be the same,
2. None of my friends are in my class Ill have no one,
3. I’ve got the meanest teacher
4. The work is really hard in this year level
Do help your child address their unhelpful thinking with more logical responses,
1. COVID situation is improved so less things will be cancelled
2. Maybe I could arrange to meet my friends at recess
3. My teacher could be okay
4. I’m just going to do what I can
As seen on ABC News Breakfast
Article author: Deirdre Brandner, Psychologist