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It’s school time! Eek, yikes, woohoo, boo and all feelings in between

Parents around Australia are gearing up for their kiddos to start, or return to school, and with that comes a whole heap of feelings – from the big kids (adults) and the little kids! I know there are some wild feelings in our home as our little one begins her Prep journey.

I wanted to share some thoughts/tips for you and your kids to help you with this transition

– Be patient. With yourself, with your child. Whether they are new or returning, there are a lot of things happening in both of your worlds here. Routine change, social demands, anxieties about fitting in, finding your place and knowing where to go

– Related to this – clear the decks of as many commitments as possible. Cook some food to put in the freezer, pause extra-curricular commitments, don’t schedule too much stuff outside of school. And use that extra time to be flexible and responsive to your child’s needs. They might want time to reconnect with you, time to just veg out, to play or to let some big feelings out. Being time-pressured makes all those things exponentially harder

– Connect with your school and teachers – if appropriate (not always so for high school), introduce yourself to the teacher/s, get your head around their schedule/timetable and plan for what is coming up

– Help organise them with their routine – for younger kids that is going to mean lots of prompting, for teenagers it will be helping them scaffold their routine so that they get back into it. Try and organise the practical things the evening before so that the morning doesn’t feel so rushed

– Celebrate! For you – celebrate guiding your child through another year of education and progress. For your child – celebrate this wonderful transition and get excited for the things to come this year

I know I’ll be doing all those things! And probably crying a little. It’s a big deal and I’m 100% ok with feeling all those feelings. As long as I keep myself regulated and not make it “about me”, I think it is really healthy for my little one to see that even us big adults can have a mix of emotions, cope/regulate and allow them to move through!

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This is general advice only – please get some specific support to address your needs. At ConnectEd Counselling and Consultancy, we believe that all families, and the communities they belong to, benefit from a little extra care and support. Whether the problems are big or small, we want to make sure everyone has the chance to feel connected – to themselves, to others and to their community. We offer counselling services to young people and families and have immediate availability. If you need some support, get in touch here:

(Written by Dr Matt O’Connor)

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