How to support your child’s (and your own!) emotional well-being as they transition to school

The transition from Nursery to Reception can be a difficult one, for both you and your child.

Below is some of my top tips for supporting yourself and your little one’s emotional well-being at this time.

I’ve written this post with all my hats on…as a teacher, an early years supervisor, a Connected Kids Tutor and a Mindfulness Teacher. So a lot of love, experience and expertise has gone into this. I hope it’s helpful…as always, please feel free to share your stories or ask me any questions! Lots of love to you and your little one’s

Good Luck 🍀

Helping your child feel positive about the transition

  • Pay attention to your behaviour and attitude.-the more confidence and comfort you can model, the more confident and comfortable your child will be about starting school. Remember that children take cues from you.

  • Avoid overly remeasuring- instead of just saying ‘it’ll be fine, don’t worry’ try problem solving and planning together. For example, if your child is worried about not knowing where the toilets are, you could say something like ‘When we go to visit the school, why don’t we ask your new teacher to show us where it is and then you’ll know’

  • Focus on the positives (for your child and you!) – Ask your child what the three things they are excited about are, then you can keep reminding them and focusing on these when they feel anxious or upset.

  • Encourage children to share worries or fears- Children often share these at bedtime, so utilise this special time to talk about any worries around school and then end with some bed time ‘thank yous’ or happy moments to ensure your child feels happy and positive

  • Deep Breathing So simple but so important. Deep breathing causes our heart rate to lower and our muscles relax which makes us feel calm and relaxed. Make deep breathing fun when teaching your child. Practice when they feel okay and they will be able to use when they feel worried, angry or sad. Bedtime buddy breathing is great- Place a teddy on your child’s stomach when they are lying down in bedand ask them to rock them to sleep by making their tummy go up and down. Ask them to breathe in like they are smelling a flower and breathe out as though they are blowing out a candle and watch their teddy rise and fall as they breathe.

  • Make a coping box. This can be really good as well for possible afterschool ‘meltdowns’, temper tantrums and other big emotions. It could also be called a ‘happy box’ or ‘calm down box’

  • Things to put in your coping box:

  • Sensory Calm Down Bottles or bags https://rhythmsofplay.com/calm-down-sensory-bottles-101/

  • Glitter Jar: Fill a clear jar or bottle with water, some glitter, and glitter glue or soap. A snow globe would be equally great for this activity. Particularly when your child is having a stressful day, ask them to shake up the jar and watch as the glitter settles after swirling chaos. This technique allows for a powerful metaphor that relates the internal state of the mind to a visual objects

  • Breathing Objectsbubbles, feathers, pin-wheels, cotton wool balls, petals

  • Play dough- to squeeze or squash and smash when angry or stressed

  • Breathing balls (available on amazon or Wilkinsons) Children can open the ball as they breath in and close down as they breath out

  • Lavender smelly bags, pillows or child safe sprays

  • Bubble wrap- to pop and provide a mindful distraction

  • Puzzles

  • Tissue paper- to rip or scrunch up when angry or upset

  • Scratch and sniff stickers-to provide sensory element

    Your emotional well-being is just as important as your child’s.

    It is normal to feel anxious and emotional about your child starting school. You may also feel a little lonely and of course, you will miss them if you are used to spending a lot of time with them. Here are some of my top tips;

    • Make time to see friends and family.

    • Ensure that you have a support network to share your worries, fears and anxieties around your child starting school.

    • Remember, your child’s new school are there to help you too. Don’t be scared to go and talk to your child’s teacher.

    • Practice deep breathing, mindfulness and relaxation- there are lots of guided meditations and breathing techniques on you-tube to help you feel calm, relaxed and less anxious.

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