The temperature in our house is starting to rise. All the usual going-back-to-school jobs still need doing – the ironing of uniforms, the reconstructing of PE kits, the restocking of pencil cases – and little Sophie is growing more and more anxious. She used to love school, but now she finds every day a real trial. We’re not sure how or why it started, but she worries so much about school that we’ve had to seek help from the pastoral care worker and the local Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team.
Right now, she’s happily drawing pictures of farm animals and writing accompanying poems. This afternoon, she seemed quite content as she rode her bike around our local lake and slid down the slide at the playground. This morning, she enjoyed pootling around town with us, and in between all that she’s been merrily playing Minecraft and watching TV. But … every so often she wanders over to me, climbs on my lap and snuggles, and I can feel the tension in her little body and see the anxiety in her eyes. When she’s distracted from the thought of school, she’s okay, but when she stops and rests, she starts to think about what it will be like and that’s when the worry takes hold.
Tomorrow will be a challenging day. There’ll be plenty for us to do – arts and crafts, bike rides to the park, bus rides into town, cooking, reading, writing, board games – but with Matt and Sam gone, I’ll have to occupy her on my own, and it’s been a while since I had to put that much effort into childcare. That probably sounds awful, but as the children have grown older, I’ve definitely become used to them being more independent! Time to dig deep and lean …
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