The summer recess can feel like it goes on forever to parents who are trying to keep their children entertained. It’s no surprise that for some children the thought of returning to school after so long at home can be distressing. Young people thrive on routine and rules, even if they may not realize it! The long summer break can be a disruption to the familiar pattern of their day-to-day life which can make it hard for them to readapt when the new academic year rolls around. If your child is showing signs of not wanting to return to school, these tips may be able to help.
Many younger children need the reassurance of strong bonds to be happy and forming these healthy attachments will enable them to cope with separation from parents or carers. Where possible, spend time with the children who will be in your child’s class to build friendships. They will be more likely to skip school if they have friends beside them.
Younger children may also respond well to reward charts. These sticker charts can be bought, printed out from online sites or – for the personal touch – homemade. Agree on what children can do to earn stickers, whether that be remembering their school bag or going into class quietly and calmly and deciding on a target number of stickers. Small goals often work best as asking a child to earn eighty stickers can seem insurmountable. Ten is a realistic amount for a small treat.
It can be hard with older children who may be defiant about going back to school but giving them a level of autonomy and independence can be empowering. Talk to them about expectations (that are appropriate for their age and stage) and give them a say in preparing for the new year. Let them choose their own equipment and treat them to technology to enhance their learning. Lenovo school laptops are fantastic as not only will they develop skills that can be used at school, but they are also fantastic for online gaming.
Even staff worry about the return to school after the summer break. With new students to get to know, lessons to plan, and classrooms to prepare, it can feel like there is a lot to be done. Give yourself time to relax – you can’t fill an empty cup. Give yourself a set time to do the work you have and make lists that you can work through, prioritizing the most pressing items. When it all seems too much, remember why you went into teaching in the first place. It can be easy to lose sight of your ‘why’ when there’s so much to do, but it’s this passion for students, education, and wider society that makes you the wonderful teacher you are. Plan to treat yourself on a Friday night – take-out is a great option, as is a good bottle of wine.
If anxieties about returning to school continue, take time to speak with the school. They may be able to offer support through counseling. For more general anxieties, see a health professional for advice.