Tips for returning to school after the winter break

SISD wishes you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The Christmas holidays are an exciting time, with many festivities to take part in leading up to the big day. Once it’s over it can be a little sad.

For children, the thought of returning to school can be quite daunting after all the fun they have had. However, it doesn’t have to be a sad time. With enough prep and the right mindset, it can be a great time to start fresh at school for the new year. With that in mind, we have put together some tips on returning to school after the Christmas holidays. That way, we can all hit the ground running for the new year.

Re-introduce a bedtime routine.

This festive period is filled to the brim with excitement, food, and quite possibly late nights. The usual bedtime routine will most likely go out the window. It can be a lot of excitement with family and presents, there’s no doubt your children may be tired after. While it is fun to have later nights during Christmas, it can be beneficial to reintroduce a more structured routine. Ideally, this is done before heading back to school.

Start with an earlier bedtime in the week before school starts, to allow your children to adjust to the earlier evenings. This will also make it easier to get up earlier, as they will have to do once they are back at school. Gradually make their bedtime earlier throughout the week so it’s not a complete shock to their system.  If your children have phones or tablets, make sure they are switched off at least an hour before bed. Try to encourage reading as it’s a great way to help wind down and relax before going to sleep.

Talking to your children

Although returning to school after break is no surprise to children, it can stir up a lot of emotions. By opening up the conversation with them it can allow them to process these feelings more easily. They can voice their concerns, if they have any, and you can reframe the conversation by talking about what they are excited for. Try to discuss what they are looking forward to in the new year. That can be learning something new in class, or seeing their friends again. Talk about upcoming after-school activities or events to help build excitement for the upcoming term ahead.

Your children may be feeling anxious about returning to school. That’s why it’s important to let them know this is a safe space to share their concerns. Explain that they will not be judged for how they are feeling. Then, support them by acknowledging their concerns and offer solutions or suggestions on how you can help them. Try using phrases such as “It’s okay to feel like this, we will help you through this”. Offering consistent support through homework and friendships can help your child to feel confident. They will feel secure in the knowledge that if they are struggling, they do have the support they need.

Start to organise

Preparing to return to school after the Christmas holidays can reduce the level of stress you and your children may feel. Put together a lunch prep plan, whether that’s creating time for making a packed lunch or creating a plan for lunches. Involving your children by looking at recipes together or getting their input on meals and ingredients can help build their excitement. Another important point is to check that P.E kits are ready. This means ensuring that they are suitable and complete for the sports your children will play in the new year.

Additionally, checking if anything needs to be returned to school. This may be library books or any equipment they borrowed before the holidays.

Finally, have a homework check-in with your children. Check for anything due to allow enough time to complete it mindfully and avoid rushing at the last minute.

Keep calm

Your child can sense if you are feeling stressed, which will have an effect on them. Is it important to make sure adults are also dealing with stress in a healthy way. By communicating your feelings and the ways you are dealing with them can help normalise your children’s emotions. Some children are full of motivation, confidence, and energy after the Christmas holidays however, that may not be the case for everyone. It can take a few weeks to transition back to the routine. As long as you are patient and flexible with them and continuously acknowledge their concerns or struggles, they will start to settle back down into school life in no time.

If you struggle with anxiety, there are some fantastic apps to help you find your calm and reduce your stress. Speak to your family, you are not alone in this process, by speaking to others and getting support from them, you can jump into this return with a focused and calm attitude.

The prospect of a new year is an opportunity to start fresh, set and achieve goals, and something to really get excited about. It’s all about mindset, with the focus to do well and achieve personal goals your children can become excited and motivated about their return. At Swiss International School we look forward to welcoming everyone back after the Christmas break, ready for a successful 2023.

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