With the first week back at school done and dusted, new research has shown that many Australian children are experiencing back to school anxiety.
The study, commissioned by UNO, has unveiled six-in-10 Australian children report feeling worried about fitting in and making new friends.
The national survey of more than 1,000 Aussie parents also went on to find that almost half of all parents have had their kids verbally express feelings of anxiety in the lead up to the first-day.
We spoke to Child Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Wellbeing for Kids Director, Georgina Manning, who shares her top tips for easing back to school anxiety and jitters
1. Listen to kids’ feelings.
New places and spaces can bring up feelings of worry. Opening up the conversation with your little one helps validate their concerns and emotions – and, often just listening is enough to put them at ease.
2. Get back into the routine.
Routines allow children to feel a sense of safety and predictability. Encourage your child to get back into their usual sleeping routine a week ahead of school. My tip? Replace the screens before bed with gametime. A game (or two!) of UNO each evening can help relax the body and brain – and instil a sense of regularity, routine and familial connection between parent and child.
3. Create a visual task list.
Children have fun creating and love to learn from visuals, so get crafty with a physical checklist so they can track and manage their daily tasks.
4. Pre-plan the night before.
Plan and prepare as much of the morning ‘to-do’ list the night before. Think packing lunch boxes and laying out school uniforms to ease the morning rush.
5. Practice makes perfect.
Practice back to school tasks, like getting dressed in the morning and tying up shoes ahead of the first day. This helps make the ‘new’ familiar and creates a routine.
6. Make a visit to the school.
For children who are particularly anxious about starting schooling, a great idea is to make time for a visit ahead of the term to walk them through the grounds and play on the equipment.
To kick off the school year and help aid jitters, UNO has announced the launch of Day UNO, seeing local primary schools dedicate time during the first-day of term one to playing the card game, giving kids the opportunity to break the ice and build new relationships through gameplay.
Have your kids experienced back to school anxiety? Tell us in the comments below.