There are few things that throw my students of kilter quite so much as a bank holiday or indeed a staff training day inconveniently placed on a Monday! You see both of these things mean that school starts on the wrong day, and for the rest of the week all too often nothing feels quite right.
There are however things we can do to help make the week feel more manageable and therefore a little more unfamiliar.
Talk Through The Schedule
Spend some time on either Monday evening or Tuesday morning talking over what the schedule will look like. Whilst this is especially important if some components of a ‘normal’ Monday will be included, it can also really help children and young people to be prepared for Tuesday despite missing a Monday.
Emphasise The Benefits Of A Four Day Week
Whilst the change of routine is very unsettling, it can feel a little less frustrating to young people if the positives of a four day week are emphasised. Remind them of the things they have enjoyed about the weekend, and point out any things about Mondays they don’t normally enjoy. And of course remind them that missing Monday only means four days of school this week.
A Favourite Breakfast
I always begin mornings that I expect to be difficult with a treat. Whether it’s pancakes, waffles or just toast with Nutella on it – waking up to something nice and unexpected can definitely help with mission digging out of bed. And let’s face it, it’s much harder to be stay cross if your favourite treat is in front of you.
Something Nice After School
By the same token the promise of doubt something nice, unexpected and low arousal after school can help them to have something to look forward to if the day is difficult. Whether it’s the promise of time on their favourite video game after school, a film night or a preferred meal for tea – the key is it should be something that they can look forward to, but without adding any extra anxiety to a day that is already likely to be challenging for them.
Let Them Know You Understand
Sit with them and talk about times when your routine has been changed and that you have been frustrated by it, let them know it’s ok that they feel unsettled by this. Acknowledging their feelings, whilst relating the, to your own experiences will not only make them feel validated but will also make them feel a little less alone.
It’s crucial that young people know that it is ok to find things hard and that others do to. Letting them know that things turned out positively in the end will also go a long way to helping the day start out well.
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