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Supporting Development

Separating From You

Starting school might feel like a big milestone for your child and for you. Even if your child has been used to nursery some children will find it hard to make the change.

Some children may find separating from parents and carers particularly hard, especially in the first few weeks. It is difficult to cope with when your child is upset. For most children this passes quite quickly once they become familiar with the people and routines of their new school.

Dive Deeper

New Routines

Try not to show any worries you might have about your child starting school – they will take their lead from you. Remember children like to listen in to adult conversations too!

  • Talk to your child about the change to come. Story books about starting school can help.
  • Talk through the routines of a school day.
  • Make sure they know who will pick them up and whereabouts. Be there a few minutes early especially to begin with - this will help build your child’s confidence.

Top Tips

  • Talk to your child about things that will be the same; like friends who they already know.
  • Keep to your routines and boundaries - this helps children feel secure at times of change.
  • You could have a small pocket sized toy that you kiss and put in your child’s pocket or book bag each morning. Something that connects them with you can help in wobbly moments.
  • Find some special wind down time with your child after school. Let your child talk to you about how they feel. Give them a lot of praise for getting through something difficult.
  • Practice some relaxation techniques together.
  • Make sure you get support for yourself from family and friends if things are tricky.

Talk To School

Let the school team know if your child struggles. They will help your child and can be around to support you both at that tricky times, like school drop off or pick up. They will have seen this before and be able to suggest ways to help.

If the anxiety carries on, gets worse and is affecting your child’s day to day life there is support available. Speak to your child's teacher or other school support staff. You can also contact Just One Number to speak to a member of the team.

Who Can Help?

Remember all children are different but if you are worried speak to your child's nursery, early years or school setting. They will be happy to talk to you about how best to support your child. If your child is not at nursery, or you are still worried, contact Just One Number to talk to a health professional for advice and support.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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