Published on January 19, 2024


There are only a few more sleeps until school returns! For some children, this brings bubbles of excitement, the anticipation of fresh starts, and the joy of stationery shopping.


For others, back-to-school nerves can feel quite distressing. Children may worry about feeling lonely, getting into trouble (even if they rarely misbehave), being liked by teachers and peers, or being able to meet academic expectations. They may also experience a generalised low mood as the holidays end.


Families can help to ease the transition back to school. First and foremost, take time to validate your child’s feelings. It is important for children to know that these feelings are real, unpleasant, and common. Many children (and even Heads of Junior School!) feel worried as the first day draws near. Once adults have listened, named and acknowledged the child’s feelings, it’s time to move onto distraction.



Be sure that the last weekend of the holiday is calm and enjoyable. Take time to pack the school bag, lay out the uniform, and pack the lunchbox the day before. Rushing on the first morning can provoke tears. When parents say goodbye, please be brave! Smile, use a cheerful voice, and assure your child that they will have a great day. Connect your child with a friend, or directly with a teacher, then leave it with us! At HVGS, our teachers know how to create a happy first day!


As a school, we are ready to welcome your children back. We can’t wait to see our students thrive this year.






Shannon O'Dwyer

Shannon O'Dwyer

Shannon O'Dwyer is the Deputy Principal – Head of Junior School at Hunter Valley Grammar School. Shannon brings a deep commitment to building effective transitions across school sections, and maintaining high expectations while building a restorative culture and nurturing young people to become the young adults we know they can be.