So tomorrow sees September upon us. A time when lots of people start thinking about the start of the new academic year.
It can be an exciting, but also stressful time – especially for those children who are starting a new school.
During my 15 years of teaching I have welcomed many new Year 7 students into the classroom and they often appear positive and keen.
However it would only be natural for even the most enthusiastic and confident eleven year old to feel some nerves on the first day of their secondary school career.
So here is some advice about how parents can help their children prepare for this.
- Remind them to STOP. This is an acronym for being still, taking a breath and noticing this breath, observing how they are feeling in that moment and then proceeding with their day hopefully feeling a little calmer. They can do this exercise anywhere at anytime. On the bus or in car on the way to school, queuing up to enter a classroom or for lunch, or sitting in the classroom.
- Encourage your child to practice finger breathing. Perhaps first thing in the morning to calm nerves, and at any other time it may be needed. Spending just a couple of minutes doing this exercise (see below and here for a video demo I found on You Tube ) will help anyone feel a little more grounded.
- Talk to your child about the phrase ‘thoughts are not necessarily facts’. Discuss how just because other children may appear relaxed and confident they are probably feeling a little wobbly on the inside too! Encourage empathy.
- Write your child a letter to be given to them the night before they start their new school. Read it aloud to them – something like this. Use it as a chance to highlight all their strengths and achievements at primary school. Include as many specific examples as possible. Letters like these are extremely powerful and the letter can be treasured and read again and again.
- Tell them about mindful walking which can be done on their way to school, as they enter the school gate or between lessons. It’s a chance to take a moment to ‘just be’ and connect with the senses rather than allowing the mind to race on to the next thing going on in their day. The trick is to really feel their feet on the ground, look around them drinking in their environment at that moment, listen to the sounds at that time with real curiosity and notice any smells and tastes there may be there if this applies.
Good luck to all embarking on their secondary school careers next week! And to the parents too.
I hope everyone has a super start to the new school year XX.
If you are interested in your child developing a deeper mindfulness practice to help well-being then please encourage your child’s school to consider working with a qualified mindfulness practitioner. Please don’t hesitate to contact me here to discuss how I may be able to help further.
A Blogging Good Time