Parents may be breathing a sigh of relief as their kids head back to school - but, for many of those schoolkids, it’s a different story. The back to school blues are a real thing, and they can make life miserable for many families. Sometimes, the cause is as simple as having to head back to boring lessons after a summer of freedom. Other times, there are more serious underlying issues. If your children are struggling with the back to school blues, here’s our advice on how to help them.
Find the cause
Children can be pretty cagey about things that are bothering them. Let them know that you’re not going to judge them or be cross with them, you just want to help. Give them time and space, and hopefully they’ll start opening up to you. You can’t tackle back to school blues if you don’t know what’s causing them - but once you’ve found the cause (or causes) you can start taking action. Be sure not to dismiss your child’s concerns as trivial or silly - if it’s upsetting them, it’s worth doing something about.
Talk to the school
Many school-based issues can be solved through co-operation with the school. If a child isn’t settling into their tutor group, or struggling academically, or even being bullied, schools have plenty of options for helping your child out. If they’re not able to resolve the issue, however, it may be worth considering a school more suited to your child’s unique needs.
Seek professional help
A child struggling with mental or physical health issues that are impacting their time at school needs professional help. A child with behavioural issues may also benefit from some professional input. See your GP with your concerns - they should be able to refer you to the people who can help. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) may also be able to point you in the right direction.
Go on a stationary shop
If your child’s back to school blues is rooted in the simple fact that their free and easy summer holidays are over, changing their mindset is a good way to help. Encourage them to think of the new school term as a positive fresh start - something new and exciting to look forward to. You can build ‘fresh start’ associations by taking them on a shop for lots of fun new school things. Letting them pick out their own new stationary is a great way to help them feel a bit more enthusiastic about heading back to school.
Don’t pile too much on at once
Everyone wants their kid to have a rich extracurricular life - but it’s important not to pile on too much too soon. Introverted kids in particular may find school exhausting due to the amount of enforced socialising it entails. These kids may need quiet time alone to recover their energy. Don’t push your kids into signing up for every after school club, school trip, and extra class that’s going - give them time to recover their equilibrium.
Give them something to look forward to
We all remember that feeling of staring down the long barrel of the new school year. The next holiday seems ages away, and the prospect of waking up and putting on your school uniform every week morning until then is very depressing. So, why not give them something to look forward to? Perhaps a day out one weekend mid-term, or a party, or even something as simple as a family meal out? Anticipation can do a lot to power kids through the slog of school!