Jayne Humphrey Counselling

Counselling in Hampshire

It’s a New Term – Supporting your Child and Yourself

Going to school for the first time or back to school after a long break can be a challenging and stressful time for both children and parents. Children may experience anxiety, fear, excitement, or sadness as they face new or familiar situations, such as meeting new teachers and classmates, adjusting to new routines and expectations, or coping with academic and social pressures.

Parents may also feel anxious, worried, or guilty about how their child will cope with the transition, especially if they experienced a challenging time during the pandemic, such as illness, loss, isolation, or financial hardship.

As a parent, you might want to support your child’s transition and help them feel more confident and comfortable. Here are some tips that may help you prepare for this important change in your lives.

Talk to your child about their feelings.

One of the best ways to support your child’s transition is to talk to them about how they feel, before they start. You can start by asking open-ended questions, such as:

  • How do you feel about going to school or back to school?
  • What are you most looking forward to?
  • What might be different?
  • How can I help you?

Listen attentively and empathetically to your child’s answers and validate their feelings. For example, you can say:

  • I understand that you are feeling nervous/excited/sad/happy about going to school or back to school.
  • It’s normal to have mixed feelings about starting school or going back to school, where things might be different to before.

Avoid dismissing or minimizing your child’s feelings, such as:

  • Don’t be silly/scared/sad. There’s nothing to worry about.
  • You’ll be fine. Just stop thinking about it.

These responses might make your child feel ashamed, misunderstood, or unsupported, and may discourage them from sharing their feelings with you in the future.

Help your child cope with their worries.

If your child expresses any worries or fears about going to school or back to school, acknowledge them and help them cope with them. You can do this by:

  • Exploring the source and nature of their worries. For example, you can ask: What makes you feel worried? When do you feel worried? How does worry affect you?
  • Helping them challenge their negative thoughts and replace them with more realistic and positive ones. For example, you can ask: Is this worry true? What evidence do you have for it? What evidence do you have against it? What is a more helpful way of thinking about it?
  • Teaching them relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, or visualization. Practice these techniques with your child and remind them that they can use them whenever they feel anxious or worried.
  • Encouraging them to face their fears gradually and acknowledging their success in managing change.

Going to school or back to school can be a tremendous change for both children and parents, but it can also be a wonderful opportunity for growth and development.

By following these tips, you can support your child’s transition to school or back to school and help them have a positive and successful experience. If you are finding the experience difficult and would like support through counselling, then please contact me, via email or call on 07941 518808. I can offer a safe space to talk about your feelings and can provide strategies to cope and move forward.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, or would like to arrange an appointment, please contact me by filling out my enquiry form, or calling me on 07941 518808.

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