For the children who have moved onto to pastures new!
At just over one week into the new school year, pupils will be settling down into the regular routine, the memories of summer fast fading.
For those who have moved up to secondary school or, indeed, for those youngsters who have just started primary school, friendships will be forming and they will be adapting to the new pace of life.
But what happens if this doesn't happen quite so quickly? What happens if your child struggles with the transition? For parents, this can be a distressing situation to deal with, and many can feel powerless to help.
Many will find themselves asking whether there is, in fact, anything they can do to help at all.
Today, the experts look at this sensitive subject. Get in touch with your own education query and see it featured on Telegraph Education (contact details at the end).
Question: My daughter is struggling to settle at primary school, what can I do?
My daughter started reception last week and is really struggling with it. She doesn't want to go to school and cries when I leave. I know it has been less than a week, but I don't know what I can do to make it easier for her. I try not to linger and the school are very supportive, but she's really gone into her shell.
Anita Griggs: Rest assured, things will settle down
First let me sympathise. Every parent wants to be the one who’s child skips happily into school and even the most sanguine of us will not rest easy at work or at home having pushed a sobbing daughter through the school gates.
But, rest assured, things will settle down. First – ask the school whether they would email or text you as soon as she settles (we send a quick photo to give reassurance). This will give you peace of mind.
Second, empathise – say to your daughter that you are sorry she is not cheery – which indeed you are. Empathising does not mean that you are validating her concerns but it is key she feels you understand she is unhappy.
Next, read lots of books about starting school - for example, those by Allan Ahlberg or Shirley Hughes. Talk about the school routine, ask for a timetable so you can run through the school day with her (“it’s Tuesday today – that’s fun you have music”).
Starting school is like starting a new job – your daughter will be trying to put on her best face in front of peers Anita Griggs
Talk to yourself about what might be worrying her. It may be going to the loo, lunch, changing for PE or having to be quiet in assembly. But try always to keep to positives.
Laugh about what used to worry you about school; you can be creative here. Remember that your daughter may well not know why she is upset and of course, she will have her own prism – the reality of life in the classroom can be very different.
Starting school is like starting a new job – your daughter will be trying to put on her best face in front of peers and this is exhausting. Early bed times are crucial as are lots of easy to eat favourite meals and great snacks at pick up time.
Please though, don’t panic – it is still very early days.
Anita Griggs, headmistress of Falkner House
Vivienne Durham: Have a timetable at home and let your daughter know what to expect every day
My heart goes out to you. Starting reception is a huge rite of passage for your daughter - and indeed, for you.
As you will know, it is not uncommon for young children to cry when their parents drop them off at school, only to be the life and soul of the classroom within a few minutes. Usually, this behaviour settles of its own accord, as going to school becomes part of a familiar and positive daily routine for a child.
You are quite right not to linger, after dropping your daughter off at school. It is very hard to muster a semblance of calm normality, but your daughter will be highly sensitive to your own response and your confidence will establish the reassurance she needs. Going to school with a friend is a practical tip that might also help.
Please talk with your daughter’s classroom teachers. They will tell you about your daughter’s behaviour during the day, which might set your mind at rest.
Make sure you understand the school day so that you can talk reassuringly to your daughter
Ask where your daughter sits in the classroom and whether she is making friends. Make sure you understand the school day so that you can talk reassuringly to your daughter: routines such as assembly and lunch-time can be daunting for a young child.
You could also check whether the school would allow your daughter to bring a small favourite toy from home into school? Similarly, bringing home a classroom toy or a favourite school library book might ease the transition for your daughter.
When your daughter comes home, try to ask only one or two positive and specific questions about her day, such as, “Tell me two good things that happened in the playground?”.
Have a timetable at home and let your daughter know what to expect at school every day. Creating this structure will help your daughter to become increasingly happy and familiar with her new school life.
Vivienne Durham, schools advisory director at Enjoy Education and former head at Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park
Peter Tait: Try to remain as calm and reassuring as possible
The apprehension some children feel in starting school is a very common problem faced by parents and teachers.
While I have a sneaking sympathy with your daughter - we tend to start education so much younger than other European countries - the reality is that she is joining a class full of other four-year-olds (possibly including some nursery friends who are on the same journey), many of whom will be experiencing the same doubts and fears.
The first thing to stress is that unless the problem manifests itself in other behaviours, it is crucial to persevere with bringing her into school each day and to keep encouraging her - one week is still early days.
Your reaction to her angst is crucial, so try to remain as calm and reassuring as possible. It is worth noting that your daughter will be doing all she can to tug at your heart-strings, yet experience tells us that when parents of upset children leave them with the teacher, the children usually settle down remarkably quickly.
I don’t think you should try too hard to make it easy for her, for therein lies a slippery slopePeter Tait
One shouldn’t ignore distress signals, but keep them in perspective and try to remain as detached and objective as you can - for her sake.
Most important, work with the class teacher. You mention that the school is supportive and I am sure her teacher will have many strategies to employ, to help phase the child in and the parent out and by distracting your daughter through play or practical activity – most teachers are experts at this.
I don’t think you should try too hard to make it easy for her, for therein lies a slippery slope, but the right amount of encouragement and love, delivered in as detached a way as you can manage works best.
Feelings of guilt and even abandonment are not uncommon parental responses, but forget them. This is an important part of getting your daughter to fly.
Peter Tait is a writer, education adviser and former headmaster