Back to school: Tips to help children with anxiety and where the best place to buy a school uniform is

Going back to school or starting it for the first time can be daunting for children and teens.

Even if your child enjoyed school last year, starting in a new class with a new teacher may mean they have some anxiety about going back.

Darren Worth is service head of Childline, he said: “School is a huge part of a child’s life, so it’s important they feel happy and secure there. Following a long break during the school summer holidays, its normal for a child to feel anxious or a little apprehensive about going back to school.

“The back-to-school period can feel like a big change for children and young people, particularly if they are starting a new school. It can bring up lots of feelings and emotions.

MadeForMums has released the results of its uniform study, winners including M&S, George at ASDA and TU Sainsburys.

“They may have concerns about what the school will be like when they go back, they may be worried about seeing their friends and picking up friendships, starting a new routine, or what their schoolwork will be like. And sadly, lots of children will be anxious about being bullied and seeing their peers again.

“Some children might be happy to be going back, some may wish they could still be at home and others may want to be somewhere else completely. However your child feels, there are lots of things you can do and encourage them to do to support them.”

Childline offers these tips if your child is worried:

Writing feelings down – you could get your child to write down everything they are looking forward to at school, and everything they are worried about. Encourage them to show you the list so that you can chat through their concerns, help them cope with their worries and also look at the positives.

M&S got the highest marks from reviewers.

Listening to their concerns – if your child has concerns about going back to school, be sure to take time to listen to what they are saying before you jump in to give advice or your opinion. You could try repeating back what they’ve shared to check you’ve understood their feelings correctly, this will help them to feel really heard.

Practical solutions – once your child has shared any concerns or anxieties they might have about going back to school, you could try talking through some practical solutions. For example, if they are worried about the amount of homework they will have, you could discuss how to break this down each evening and what they could do if they start to feel overwhelmed – e.g talk to their teacher or you. You could start by asking them what they think might help them to feel better about the situations that worry them. This can encourage them to learn to think for themselves and feel in more control of the situation.

Remind them to take their time – remind your child that it can take time to adjust to being back at school, and it’s okay if it doesn’t feel comfortable at first. Being back at school will mean a totally different routine, and it’s important to remember that this can take some getting used to.

Doing things they enjoy - even when they are back at school, making time every day to do something they enjoy can really help to ease anxiety. Whether its time in their evening with the friends, reading a book or hanging out with their siblings. It’s important to take time out.

Let your child know that they can speak to you or a teacher about any concerns they have, and if the situation is serious, you should report this to the school so they can help.

Childline is there to listen to them about any worries they may have. Young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via 1-2-1 chat on www.childline.org.uk

Childline also has a huge online community where children can get support from their peers on message-boards and use expert resources to help them through any issue they are concerned about. If adults are worried about children they can get advice from NSPCC practitioners on 0808 800 5000 or [email protected]

Back to school also means a new uniform, throughout June 2022 family testers for MadeForMums, the UK’s number one parenting site for product reviews, put all the elements of primary school uniform rigorously through its paces – including washing, sizing and adaptability for different body shapes and special needs.

School uniforms from major high street retailers and supermarkets were tested by expert judges and trialled at home by family testers. Over 700 further families were surveyed in to identify the best value and best performing school uniforms. The winning products were selected on a range of criteria including quality, fit, washing and value for money. MadeForMums also compared prices to last year to see how the rising cost of living is reflected in the cost of school uniforms.

Susie Boone, editorial director of MadeForMums, said: “Pressures on household budgets means the challenge of where to shop for school uniform is being felt more than ever this year, which is why MadeForMums has carried out its most extensive school uniform survey to date.

"Marks & Spencer was a worthy winner of Best High Street School Uniform with parents praising its “grow-proof” adjustable hems, designs for SEN and sensitivity needs, plus wash quality, fit and longevity. Our family testers complimented Tu at Sainsburys, winner of Best Supermarket Uniform, for cost effectiveness and having the all-important adjustable fits. MadeForMums parent testers were impressed by competitive pricing, durability and range at George at Asda and awarded it Best Value School Uniform.

"Its great to see retailers upping their game on quality, pricing and sustainability in these challenging times and many of our MadeForMums testers singled out praise for those who are providing uniform ranges that cover so many childrens’ different needs when it comes to dressing for school.”

There are also a number of books that can help with the transition.

For those starting school charity the BookTrust recommends: Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School by David Melling, Mungo Monkey Goes to School by Lydia Monks and Whiffy Wilson: The Wolf Who Wouldn't Go To School by Carly Hart and Leonie Lord.

For teens starting secondary school it recommends Jelly by Jo Cotterill, Ella On the Outside by Cath Howe, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, Come on Life: Highs, Lows and How to Live Your Best Teen Life by Nikki Lilly, and Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li.

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