I’m not sure how many families will be saying a happy farewell to zoom classes and zooming to the school gate come tomorrow but I imagine there are lots of little (and big) people with big feelings. I for one am still not sure how I feel about returning to school. We’ve been having lots of conversations on the lead up to tomorrow, but I anticipate some BIG emotions all around.
Ways to support your child on returning to school –
Let your child know that ALL emotions are ok. It’s ok to feel excited and scared and you can even feel both at the same time.
Read a book together such as “When I’m feeling nervous” by Trace Moroney – it’s a great opportunity for connection, snuggles and to discuss how they’re feeling about returning to school.
Practice affirmations together such as ‘I am brave’, ‘I am loved’.
Do a visit to the school gate to re-familiarise your child with the school setting and school gate especially for those in Kindergarten and younger grades. Point out the toilets, playgrounds, classroom (where possible through closed gates!) and also let your child know where you will be picking them up from in the afternoon.
Teach your child some breathing exercises so that if they need to they can learn to self-regulate. 5 finger breathing is one of my favourites. It’s accessible and free for your child at any point of the day. Hold your hand up, and trace your other pointer finger up and down the curves of your hand as you are breathing in (inhaling) on the way up, and out (exhaling) on the way down. Start at the thumb and make your way to your pinkie. 5 breaths should be taken by the time the pinkie is reached. Start again if needed. Breathing is a great way to calm the central nervous system.
Yoga poses are also a great way to help children learn to calm. Mindful movement and breath are great tools for children to self-regulate. Child’s pose (turtle pose) can also be a good tool for children to slow down and tune out to aid in calming our nervous system and mind.
Give your child something they can place in their pocket and hold if needed, especially if they have challenges separating from parents. Crystals, lucky rocks or something special you’ve come up with together. My children all have a little felt heart, that Mummy has kissed and it goes into their pocket and if they’re feeling sad they know at any point, there’s Mummy kisses just for them. It works for us.
Access school support if needed. Make contact with the school, organise a chat with the school counsellor or other outside services if needed. Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
Also don’t forget to go easy on yourself.