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Children respond positively to structure – this means knowing what to expect in their day-to-day lives. They especially benefit from routines around sleep and meal times, which will help them cope better if anything unexpected does crop up. Visit our ‘keeping your child or teen healthy’ sections for further information on sleep and healthy eating.

Going back to school

school friends a boy and two girls with school backpacks on their backs walk after classReturning to school after the holidays can be difficult for some children. Getting back to term-time schedules takes patience and perseverance after relaxed routines with later bedtimes and longer lie-ins. Try bringing things back a few days before the end of the holidays – the night before school won’t be a great time to suddenly re-set the clocks. Let your child know it’s okay to feel anxious or worried about going back to school.

Listening to your child helps them feel supported and can encourage them to start to manage their own feelings. Praise your child for their efforts. Let them know you appreciate the hard work they are putting into their school day. Positive reinforcement will help encourage them to keep going. Being listened to, and sharing stories, will help your child feel supported and may encourage them to manage their own feelings. Visit our anxiety page for more support.

Be a positive role model

Children look to you for reassurance; it’s how they learn how to behave and act in similar situations. If you’re feeling anxious, your child might pick up on these feelings. It’s important for them to see how you manage your feelings effectively, and in a positive way. Try to stay calm and relaxed and show them how you problem-solve and make plans.

Try to keep to your own routines, and show your child that you’re doing it. Eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise will help them see that it’s possible and enjoyable to have a healthy life. By showing your child positivity, you’ll be helping them feel contained, safe and, importantly, teaching them healthy behaviour. You can find more support in our ‘Keeping your child or teen healthy’ sections.

Your child with additional needs

Any change to your family routine can be challenging for children and their parents/carers. If your child has additional needs or neurodivergence or disabilities, these changes can feel even more unsettling. You can do certain things to help support their child when changes take place.

  • Be upfront and chat with your child about the changes that are happening.
  • Use the most suitable communication style for them, such as social stories, photographs or drawing together.
  • Allow your child to get familiar with the changes by repeating the conversation with them a number of times.
  • Visual aids can be useful in helping your child make sense of situations, so use a wall calendar to mark off the days until the upcoming change happens.

Useful resources:

  • YoungMinds is a support network to help you while you’re supporting your child.
  • Contact Kent School Health - we really want to hear from you if you feel you need more support for you and your child.