Advice from a primary school teacher on Back To School!

The Kids Are All Right! is a podcast specially for kids that is all about Health, Happiness and Wellness! Michelle and her puppet co-presenters, Buster & Buddy are on a mission to help kids Feel Great and Live Well! Each week theyfeature a different topic speaking with experts who have the best advice and tons of experience to share!

This week they talk with Primary School teacher and kids’ author Áine Murray as she gives some advice from a teacher’s point of view about what kids can do to get ready for Back to School! 

We’ve had our much looked forward to ‘outdoor summer’. We’ve been able to go places and do things that we only would have dreamed about earlier in the year. And now, the evenings have become undeniably shorter … and on kitchen tables all around the country, uniform and book lists are being ticked off, shoe shops are filled with kids who have outgrown their old school shoes … Undeniably it’s beginning to feel a lot like … back to school time!

So The Kids Are Alright! Podcast wanted to find out what kids should be doing to get themselves ready mentally and physically ready for the new school term after the long summer break. Well, who better to ask than a teacher who is on the ‘front line’ with a classroom full of nervous and excited kids sitting in front of them, tasked with the job of getting them settled and back into the routine of learning once again!

And Áine Murray from Ashbourne Educate Together Primary School is a teacher that is even better placed to give advice on back to school nerves, as with a background in psychology, she’s the author of ‘The Pain in the Chest’ a book she has written to help kids understand and manage their worries. 

When it comes to back to school, it’s really very normal for kids to have mixed emotions about going back to school. During the summer there have been so many freedoms; freedom from normal bedtimes AND getting up times, freedom from routine, from homework, so naturally it’s hard to get back into the structure of school again.  

Some kids will be delighted to be back to the school routine, seeing their friends and their teachers, while others will struggle with separation anxiety, the loss of freedom and getting back into an academic routine within a physical school environment. So it’s totally normal to have mixed emotions about back to school….even teachers can feel that way about getting back to school!

Aine Murray with her book ‘The Pain in the Chest’.

Áine believes it’s really important that kids learn from an early age to notice their own unique signs of worry;

“Lots of kids and adults experience anxiety as something very physical, so that could be pains in their tummy, headaches, not feeling like eating, or as a pain in the chest. It’s important for kids to think about where they feel theirs when anxious or worried, as this will help them work out what kinds of situations or things make them feel anxious. 

“Because they mightn’t even realise that the feelings they have in their body are actually their body’s way of dealing with their worries or anxiety.

“They might just think they get a lot of pains in their tummy and that’s just how it is … and once they know the triggers, then they can begin to make a plan as to how to fix it and feel better.”

The girl who features in her book has lots of different worries as she grows up, which she keeps to herself. But by the end of the book she decides to talk to her Mom about her anxiety and suddenly she starts to feel a whole lot better. 

“And so we learn that when we start to talk, our worries start to walk…and we feel better. When we talk about our worries, our anxiety, the anxiety loses its power. And what’s really important is that at the end of the story, we see the furry creature, her anxiety that she’s been carry around for years, pack its bags and leave once the girl talks to her mum about her feelings and the worries that she’s been carrying alone for so many years.

“Because anxiety and worries grow when we leave them inside our heads. When we take them out of our head by talking to someone about them, then they can’t grow or hide anymore as they’re out in the open and they don’t like that.”


Michelle, Buster and Buddy asked Áine for her top tips on getting ready for back to school.


Be Well Rested. Go to bed early the night before. It will be strange getting up early again after a long time. Start the week before you go back, getting back into a routine of waking up at school time and going to bed at your school time bedtime, eating at school lunch times, etc. This will all hep get your body clock back into the schooltime routine. 


Get Prepared! And as part of this getting back into a routine

  • The week before school make sure you’ve gone through your booklist with your parent and make sure that you have your pencils, rubbers and pencil case ready. Basically make sure you have all the little details checked and ready. 
  • Have your clothes and bag ready the night before – this will mean less stress in the morning. 
  • And maybe even consider having your packed lunch ready the night before so all you need to do is take it out of the fridge in the morning. Easy!


Getting to Know You! Some kids get nervous about who their new teacher is going to be, do they know them, if they don’t what will they be like…will they even like them? Sometimes the big worries kids have about a new school year can be the unknown of a new teacher they’ll be spending so much time with. Even just putting a face to your new teacher could be a great help for them feel more relaxed and prepared. 

So if you want to know more look on the school website! Is there anything about your new teacher? Maybe something they did with their class last year, or a picture of them?

TIP 4 

Reconnect with School Friends. If you haven’t seen many of your school friends over the summer, maybe now is the time to meet up with a friend from class for a play date a few days before going back to school or during the first week or two, to really settle back into friendships. 


Mind your Body! Without a doubt kids will be tired after the first few weeks as they start to get their brains and body back into the school routine again. Bring a healthy energy-packed brain food! September will be hectic and tiring, and it’s important to keep your body well fuelled.

TIP 6 – Very Important!

If there’s something you’re particularly worried about, talk to someone at home about it. You could even let your teacher know on the first day! Or if you’re nervous to tell them, ask mum and dad to write a little note. Your teacher wants to know as much as they can about you and will always want to do anything they can to help you settle in, feel comfortable and happy so that you can enjoy your school year with them!

It’s really important to talk!

Listen to the podcast with your child with this simple Easy to Listen link or using this simple QR Code


A new edition of the book is currently in print with O’Brien Press. Keep an eye on the O’Brien Press website for the new release date.