Parents and children alike have dreamt of it and it’s finally here – the day schools reopen. We’ve all been through a riptide and it’s totally normal that children and parents will feel justifiably nervous about the return to their schools on March 8th.
Some children haven’t seen their friends in well over 6 months, let alone been up ‘school time early’ and interacted in a busy classroom. Here at the Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School we want to help children feel safe, secure and optimistic about their first day back to their schools on Monday. Here are some tips on how to steel those first day nerves:
Encourage Kindness to Self
Your children may be caught off-guard by their nerves on the first day back. They think they should be excited to see their friends and get back into a routine, but they can’t seem to shake that anxious feeling. On Sunday night, sit down with your child or children and explain to them it’s OK to feel tense, these are warranted emotions. Tell them to practise compassionate self-talk; everyone will adjust at their own paces.
Simple Breathing Exercise
If your child feels overwhelmed, you can teach them a simple breath exercise they can do anywhere to slow their heartrate and steady their breath. All they need to do is breathe in through their nose, into their tummy for a count of 4, hold that breathe for a count of 3 and then breathe out of their mouth for a count of 5. Repeat this three, or four times and it will provide a sense of calm and grounding.
Journal or Create
When we’re nervous or anxious we tend to get lost in our thoughts. We can catastrophise – where we imagine the worst thing that could happen or feel panicky with a torrent of thoughts going through our mind. Encourage your child to journal at the end of the day or do something creative – this could be singing a song or having a dance around the living room. When we exercise our creative minds and bodies it short-circuits overthinking.
Get Back into a Routine
That Monday morning alarm clock is looming, and it might not be pretty! To make the move from home-schooling to a return to school as smooth a transition as possible, set earlier bedtimes and wakeups that line up with what you’ll be doing on Monday, to help. Resetting a sleep routine won’t happen immediately, it’s useful to work in 15- and 30-minute increments to nudge toward that 6am (or earlier!) Monday 8th start!
Treat Them (And Yourself!)
You made it! Give yourself and your child, or children a pat on the back for surviving the uncertainty and high demand of home-schooling! You should be incredibly proud of yourself for your massive achievement. It doesn’t matter if some days were a write-off, you and your child have gone through a lot together. Why not treat yourselves to a special dinner together on Monday night to celebrate making it!
To all the superhero parents: Congratulations! We will be looking at protecting parent’s mental health in a future blog, sign up to our newsletter here to receive that when it first comes out.