How to deal with first-term jitters

Dissolve those first-term jitters fast and ensure your child is emotionally ready for school and adapts well to her new routine with these top tips by creative parenting expert, Nikki Bush.

The first bell of the 2018 academic year rang last week, but it’s important for parents to understand that first-term jitters are a real thing for some children – especially those who have entered the classroom for the first time in their lives.

Nikki says the change in a child’s usual environment; in this case a new school – pre-primary, primary and high school, and even moving onto the next grade – mean kids find it daunting and stressful to adapt.

“Parents the world over agree – when kids are fretful and uneasy, mom and dad are too,” she says.

ALSO SEE: 5 tips to help your child in Grade R or Grade 1 make new friends at school

Follow Nikki’s tips to help your little one cope better:

Play movement games with your little one

Nikki says activities that involve movement are highly beneficial for kids as it raises endorphins and puts them in a better mood. She suggests the following fun, interactive movement games:

  • Rough and tumble
  • Hide and seek

Spend quality time with your child

Quality time with mom and dad eliminates stress and is extremely important to help kids relax. Try these entertaining games the whole family can take part in.

  • Cricket
  • Soccer
  • Hopscotch

“Parent-child interaction has a calming effect on kids and helps to minimise stress. It means bonding as a family, which also acts as a channel of support for children. They feel safe and secure and are reminded that mom and dad are there for them every step of the way,” Nikki says.

ALSO SEE: 5 ways to maximise family time

Play with your child

Since play is a universal language, Nikki says “play your sillies away”. It has a calming effect on kids and helps to minimise stress. A few of the games she recommends.

  • Board games
  • Bikes and scooters
  • Lego

“Mom and dad, haul out all sorts of games and toys and let them play to their hearts content. It does wonders,” she says.

ALSO SEE: 4 ways to help your toddler manage change

Change the drop-off routine if needed

If children are more anxious with one parent than with the other, simply swap drop-off roles and don’t feel guilty about it. Be flexible and adaptable.

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