The books are covered, the bags are packed and the uniform is neatly ironed and ready for the first day of school.
For some children and young people, however, these practical things are not likely to be worrying them the most.
The stress and anxiety some young people feel at the start of the school year can be overwhelming.
This year, with the transition of Year 7 into high school in Queensland, those anxieties can be amplified.
In Queensland alone, 58,000 children will be going into Year 7. They’ll join 41,000 Year 8’s in one of the biggest changes to schooling in the State since the introduction of Prep in 2012.
Those first days can be some of the most exciting but Kids Helpline General Manager Wendy Protheroe said for others, this time is a scary and frustrating one.
Ms Protheroe said transitioning into school is one of the most important stages of a child’s development.
“This is the time that sets a bar in terms of how children develop coping strategies, problem solving skills and ways of seeing and understanding the world outside of their family,” Ms Protheroe said.
“They may be starting Prep, their first year of senior school or going into Year 12. Whatever the stage, it can sometimes be overwhelming with new challenges and uncertainties.”
As Australia’s only national 24/7 counselling and support service for young people, Ms Protheroe said Kids Helpline was there to help.
The service has compiled a list of tips for parents to support their children during this time.
Kids Helpline’s Top Five Back to School tips are:
1. Be excited about the change. If you are enthusiastic and confident, your children are more likely to be as well.
2. Listen to your children. Let them know you’re interested in what they’re worrying about and what they’re excited about.
3. Plan - have uniforms and lunches ready the night before to avoid the early morning rush and any unnecessary stress.
4. If possible, visit the new school with your child before the first day to familiarise with the layout including bathroomslunch areas and playgrounds.
5. Start and maintain daily routines that will add structure and make your child more at ease (eg) dropping your child off at school at the same time each morning.
Ms Protheroe said it was important for parents to make themselves available to provide support at critical times like starting back at school.
However, Kids Helpline was there to help at any stage.
Children and young people can call Kids Helpline about a range of issues, from making friends to starting high school, at any time.
Kids Helpline, Australia’s only national 24/7 counselling and support service for young people, provides 24 hour counselling services to young people aged 5 to 25 years – free call 1800 55 1800 or online at www.kidshelpline.com.au