Most children are now four to five weeks into the new school year. The initial weeks of school often are filled with excitement about new faces, classes, and experiences as well as nervousness while getting to know the “lay of the land”. This “honeymoon” phase of school often promotes children’s best behaviour in the classroom. Over time, children become more comfortable with their new teachers, peers, and classrooms, which can result in testing the limits of teachers’ rules and increased behaviour problems in the classroom. In other words, the honeymoon ends and the reality of a looming, long school year sets in.
Keeping these ideas in mind – you and your child should settle quickly back into the daily grind of school life. However, while it will take most children up to a couple of weeks to settle back into the routines of school, some children may take longer to get used to school again. Some indications that your child may be struggling to settle in include ongoing:
If you notice these behaviours and they seem out-of-character for your child then consider speaking to not only your child about the changes you have observed but also their classroom teacher or guidance officer at school.
Be patient and attuned to your child’s needs and encourage them to discuss their concerns or worries about school with yourself. A consistent approach between you and your child’s school is the best way to bring about changes over time.
Strategies for talking with your child’s teacher when a problem arises:
Set up a specific time to talk
Acknowledge each person’s areas of expertise
Ask for specific examples
Make a plan on goals moving forward
Set up a specific time to check-in again
However, sometimes speaking to the teacher alone does not resolve all problem behaviour, particularly if there is a more serious underlying reason for the behaviour. This could be stressors in the home environment, anxiety, bullying or social difficulties. When the problem continues it can be tempting to keep your child at home if you notice that they are struggling to cope with the demands of school. However, it’s important to remember that continuing to take your child to school provides them with a predictable and ‘normal’ routine, which can help them to feel safe and secure. It is also important to remember that avoidance often perpetuates or maintains the problem. It will be more helpful to support your child to attend school rather than allowing them to avoid or stay home. School refusal is a real phenomenon and chronic school refusal whereby your child is consistently absent from school can lead to school disengagement and disconnection and it can be incredibly hard to overcome these challenges.
Sometimes if issues continue extra support is needed in the form of counselling or a psychologist to assist a child to adjust and manage new challenges and perform to the best of their ability. At YLO Psychology Clinic we know children and teenagers and the unique challenges they often face at school. If you feel that your child or adolescents difficulties at school can no longer be managed within the school environment please give one of our friendly psychologists a call on 07 3341 4619.
Our clinic address is: Shop 5, 2770 Logan Road, Underwood, 4119.
Our clinic is located in Underwood Village, on the corner of Logan Road & Underwood Road.
There is free parking and close public transport to ensure easy access by our clients.
Our clinic provides a child and adolescent friendly environment that supports differing modalities of intervention. The clinic provides for wheelchair access.