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How to Help Children Who Don't Settle in Well at School

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 22 Feb 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
School Settle Children Friends Teacher

Starting school for the first time is a major life-changing event for children and, sadly, not every child takes to it. If your child doesn’t settle in well at school, here are some ideas as to how you can help.

It’s not unusual for there to be tears and upset during the first week of school. Even if your child has been familiar with going to nursery or pre-school, it’s a whole new experience going to school properly. Many children don’t enjoy it at first, causing a lot of angst for parents, who hate the trauma of having to turn their backs and walk away from a sobbing child.

But whilst some children manage to get over it after the first week or so, for others it’s not so easy. Facing continued stress, upset and tears about going to school, especially coupled with children pretended to feel unwell and doing anything to try and stay at home, is a real worry to parents. School is a major part of life for children and you want them to be happy going to school and enjoy their learning experience.

Talk to Your Child’s Teacher

One of the first port’s of call for school worries should be your child’s teacher. If your child is unhappy at school and not settling in, then they should be aware of it. In theory, they may even be able to shed some light on what happens in school and if there are any other factors that could be contributing to their dislike of school.

For example, there may be another child who they don’t get on with, be having difficulties making friends or not enjoying something as mundane as going to the toilet at school. If a teacher is able to identify any possible reasons for your child not settling in, you could then work on some strategies together to try and improve the situation.

Talk to Other Parents

It’s really useful to talk to other parents, as they can be often be full of practical tips and ideas. Many will have been through similar scenarios themselves and it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone.

If your child doesn’t know many of the other children, or hasn’t yet made new friends, then teaming up with a parent who has a child in the same class and getting the children together after school for a play date, can be a helpful way of aiding them in making new friends. Just having a friendly face to look out for each morning can help a child begin to settle in better at school.

Stay and Observe Your Child at School

Most schools are keen to encourage parents to leave straightaway as they drop their children off at school in the morning. This is partly due to worries that hanging around a weepy child who doesn’t want to stay may actually make the situation worse.

But in cases where your child is very distressed about being in school, there may be benefits in you staying and observing them for a while, although possibly whilst keeping out of their sight.

If you’re worried that your child may be being picked on, or have concerns that perhaps the school isn’t right for them, seeing what actually goes on could put your mind at rest or help you properly assess the situation.

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