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Easing your Child Back to School after Christmas

Back to school with a skip and a cheer?

Or shuffling into the school gates with shoulders hunched?

How has your child returned to school after the Christmas break?


Factors for Parents to Consider


Unfortunately, quite a lot of children do not like going to school. In some cases, they simply hate it – a place that makes them feel miserable, stressed and anxious.

School can be a harsh environment: children are thrown in with their (sometimes hormonal) peers in a Lord of the Flies scenario where it is survival of the fittest.

Nowadays you can also throw in higher performance expectations from the government, schools and parents; the importance of being popular as dictated by the latest social media platforms; unrealistic celebrity body images to be compared to and an increasing depletion in our ability as a society to communicate in a good, old-fashioned way.

As parents, we also have a huge list of worries when it comes to our children in the school environment – cyberbullying, self-harming, eating disorders, stress, anxiety…the list goes on


So, what can we do to help our children enjoy their school years?


Healthy eating, good hydration, plenty of fresh air and exercise and lots of good quality family time and leisure time away from technology all go a long way towards helping your child become confident, strong and resilient and more equipped to deal with the stresses of school life.


A few tips which can help in easing your child’s transition back to school include:

1. Uninterrupted breathing

Encourage your child to spend a few moments concentrating on their breathing. This will calm their body down and also serve as a distraction.


2. Positive face

Ask your child to do a silly smile; it’s much harder to feel angry or stressed when you are smiling.

3. Balanced posture

Stand up tall together, releasing tension and helping the blood flow.

4. Release muscle tension

Help your child to feel more relaxed by concentrating on thinking about something calm and enjoyable.

5. Mental control

Encourage some positive thoughts and help your child to feel in control by asking: “What could you do to make yourself feel better?”


Sheree McGregor, child health expert for the Sunflower Trust children’s charity, says:“

Activities that involve outdoors, physical activity, and interaction allow a child to build self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.

“The more this is encouraged, the more a child will feel good about themselves, be confident and succeed. Communication is key, within families, parents and schools, teachers and of course children. Spending some time discussing how one feels about certain things will help the child know that someone is there for them, someone cares and someone is willing to help.”


We can also help our children a great deal by teaching them to look at their results not as ‘success’ or ‘failure’, but as opportunities to explore. Exploration means a chance to discover.




In practice, this means encouraging your child to be curious about a result and ask questions such as:

  • What have I learned about what doesn’t work?
  • Can this explain something that I didn’t set out to explain?
  • What can I do with these results?
  • What have I discovered that I didn’t set out to discover?
  • The same approach should be applied to successful results, which can often be a missed learning opportunity – we rarely ask the child holding the trophy what they have learned from their experience!

‘Failing’ should never be swept under the carpet. Avoiding failure merely heightens the dread of it, so when it does happen it will be felt more strongly and deeply.

Sheree adds: “Helping a child to focus on learning in which there are choices and opportunities allows them to try different pathways so that learning remains a positive experience.

“We, as parents, are often tempted to step in when things become challenging but learning to deal with setbacks helps children develop important life skills such as creative thinking, and resilience.”

And finally, keep screens out of the bedroom to ensure a good night’s sleep.