Adding to all the changes we are going through this year - you may also be moving out of area or facing the prospect of having to change your child's' school. This is also the time of year that children start preparing for the move from primary school to secondary or high school.
For children walking into the unfamiliar school gates, with a new scratchy uniform, shoes that need breaking in and a bulging backpack, is enough to want to send you back to homeschooling with mum.
Moving is daunting for everyone. There is a lot to organise along with trying to keep the family co-ordinated and all the other balls in the air. Don't neglect how your child will be feeling about leaving behind old friends, teams and routines and follow some tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
ReachOut offer some excellent advice for parents, teachers and pupils on how to tackle the anxiety and stress that can come with having to move to a new grade, school or environment.
For parents, their advice is to stay positive about the transition.
- Build excitement by talking about all the new opportunities for friendships and activities they'll have
- It might sound silly but practising the walk or bus/train trip beforehand will really reduce first day nerves
- If there's a neighbour or cousin who's started at a new school in the past organise for them to hang out and hear what it was like
- Make sure everything is organised. Bag, uniform and books are essentials for starting at a new school so help them sort it all out before day one
- Make sure their desk and books are tidy. If their desk or room is shared make sure the rest of the family are on board with keeping things sorted
- Organise a social day just before school goes back and, if possible, invite friends from their old school
- Don't commit too early. Encourage your teen to be social and not rush getting a new best friend. With the stress of making friends at a new school it's easy to jump at the first people that speak to you
- Avoiding comparing the new to the old. Get your child to look to the future even if they're missing their old school a bunch
- Sign up to things straight away. Research extracurriculars and help them decide on some they'll sign up to in their first week
- Prepare them for stress. The unknown can be really scary but things like breathing exercises, getting active, and having "me-time" can all help with the transition
Senior manager digital content at ReachOut Schools, Annie Wylie, said the transition from primary to high school involved a period of rapid change, which was challenging for everyone involved.
"It is often a time of celebration and excitement, but it can also be worrying and stressful as students are required to adapt to new environments and expectations. Successful transition is vital to the development of students' sense of belonging, connectedness and academic self-competence, as well as to the prevention of potential anti-social behaviours and mental health issues," Annie said.
For teachers in the classrooms, knowing that ReachOut Schools offer effective transition programs which can prepare students for the changes and challenges they face is of some comfort.
Knowing your new pupil or cohort of students have prevention strategies that promote belonging and wellbeing in all students as they reach this stage of potential vulnerability, could make all the difference to their ability to learn and be resilient adults.
If you would like more information on how to help your child at school visit au.reachout.com. They offer advice and support for parents, teachers, carers and students.