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What to do if your child can’t settle in school

What to do if your child can't settle in school

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We all want to protect our children but this can become problematic when they start school. Not only are they out of our sight for over six hours each day, they’re often not very forthcoming in telling parents about their day.

If your child still hasn’t settled after starting at primary, moving to secondary or changing to a new school, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to help them adjust. Well, you’ll probably be pleased to hear that the answer is yes. Just because you aren’t physically there with them doesn’t mean you can’t have an influence on their life at school. Here’s how you can help your child settle into a new school.

Observe their behaviour

Your child may not be willing to discuss school with you, you can try to find out if something is up by observing her behaviour. Look out for changes; a child who has always been an early bird being reluctant to get up in the morning or signs that the Sunday dread is creeping in before the school week starts. Signs like these may be an indication that your child is not happy in school and is reluctant to go there.

Don’t keep them off

It may be tempting when faced with a tearful child who hates going to school, keeping your child home from school because she is generally unhappy there will do more harm than good. Up to the age of 16, education is compulsory and your child doesn’t have a choice but to go to school. Other than this, keeping her off just means she will have to settle back in all over again.


What to do if your child can't settle in schoolIt’s heartbreaking to know that your child is being bullied. Look out for signs such as being secretive of their phone or social media accounts, torn clothes or waiting till she comes home to use the toilet. Other indications include attention seeking behaviour or being more withdrawn as confidence is knocked. Make sure your child knows she can talk to you about anything – good or bad – and that you won’t act without discussing it with her first.

Your child will probably dread the thought of everyone knowing you have turned up at school to report the bullying, if you choose to involve the school be discreet about it. Arrange a meeting with the class teacher or head of year, don’t forget to ask what the next steps will be so that your child can be kept in the loop.

Join a club

Struggling to make friends is one common reason for pupils being unhappy at school. If your child has a hobby like football or music, encourage her to join a club or band. This will allow her to meet other kids with a common interest across a range of year groups, even if she doesn’t have many friends in her own year she will still have people to spend break times with.

Don’t rush in

Everyone takes time to adjust to a new routine and make new friends. Allow your child a fair amount of time – at least four weeks – to settle in before you intervene. Once your child gets used to her new surroundings she may become perfectly happy. If not, ask to speak with the teacher in the first instance, find out if there is anything going on that may be impacting your child’s enjoyment of class.



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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