By Meg Laver
Week Five of the summer holidays and the start of school is edging closer every day. Hurrah you might say! But for the little people in our lives back to school can bring on some pretty intense emotions. The start of a new academic year can trigger peaks in anxiety, especially when starting a new school. Some kids will be excited to go back and others will find the transition from being at home, to be being at school much harder. School is all about taking on new challenges and embracing exciting experiences. But new can be scary and overwhelming for them too. Here at My Gator Watch we understand the challenges that come with the first day back at school. We are a team of mums who have children of varying ages and so we like to think we have become pros at combating those back to school nerves. This week we are sharing our wisdom and bringing you some fun tips for helping your kids anxiety as the new school year begins.
BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING
For us mums back to school shopping can be a logistical nightmare (not to mention expensive) but going on the hunt for new equipment, uniform and school accessories can be exciting for our kids. Getting them involved in the back to school shop can help them prepare and plan for what they will need when they start. If at all possible, let them choose a couple of things themselves. Whether it’s a new pack of highlighters, or some funky shoes, they will see it as a positive start to their school year. If you are struggling with your back to school list then be sure to checkout our last blog post, all about things you might not have on your back to school list but really should!
BACK TO SCHOOL PARTY
A back to school party can be a great way to make going back to school more exciting. Your children may not have seen as many of their friends as they usually would during the holidays and this can cause anxiety about friendship groups and fitting in. A back to school party can help ease those nerves about seeing friends again and will create lots of chatter about the exciting things that are coming up during the new school term. If your child is moving to a new school then it can be beneficial to invite some children that they may not have met before, but whom you know are starting the school with them at the same time.
WRITE DOWN THEIR WORRIES
Studies have shown that asking your kids to write down their anxieties can be a great form of therapy. Even as adults, we know all to well that when our mind is full of worries it can feel hugely overwhelming. Writing the worries down is a great way to off load everything that they are concerned about. This then enables you to discuss the issues and write some positive solutions down too. We would suggest a “worry board” (or two) if you can get your hands on them. All you will need is two white boards that you can write on with a wipeable marker pen. Ask your child to write all of their worries down and discuss them one by one. Once your child is happy with the solutions, start a new board with all of the positive things you have discussed. This can also be done with Post it notes on a wall. Super easy and a lovely way to help your child open up about their worries.
VISUAL AIDS FOR CALMING MINDS
Ever heard of Jitter Glitter? Jitter Glitter can in fact be anything you want it to be (as long as it involves glitter) These ideas are a visual way of helping your kids to feel calmer about something that scares them.
One of our mums buys glitter putty that her kids can play with each morning before school (or on the school journey) This acts as a stress reliever each time they have the morning jitters and keeps their hands busy. Interestingly aids that allow our kids to fidget and use their hands can be hugely beneficial for anxiety. Have you ever played with a paper clip or a pen during a meeting or when you have to take a tense phone call? It’s our body’s way of focussing the mind and keeping calm.
Another of our mums mixes glitter with water in a jam jar and asks her kids to talk to her about their worries whilst shaking it and watching the therapeutic patterns take shape.
We also love the idea of a glitter spray, which is ideal for primary school kids. Simply fill a spraying bottle with water and glitter, and allow them to spray themselves before they leave for school. Your child will see it as a layer of protection and will have reassurance that it will help them feel calm.
PLAN SOME SPECIAL ACTIVITIES
We love the idea of creating a brand new calendar that can be placed in a communal area of your home. The calendar will clearly show school days and home days. As part of this we suggest that you plan a few nice things over the course of the back to school period. This is another visual aid that will help your kids feel organised and positive about the things that they enjoy.
We hope that you love these ideas as much as we do! Here at My Gator Watch we are passionate about letting kids be kids for as long as possible. Part of growing up is taking on independence, step by step, and My Gator Watch – the wearable mobile phone – makes that happen. It uses GPS, two-way calling, works across multiple networks and has an SOS feature for peace of mind.
It’s the perfect companion for your child as they take the next steps on their school journey, especially if they are anxious about starting a new school year. For more information please click here.
From all the Mums at My Gator Watch, we wish you and your children a positive transition into this exciting school year!