Back To School!


How Can We Help Children to Beat the “Back to School” Blues?

All parents love their children, but it is probably not a huge over-exaggeration to say that the six week summer holiday we have in the UK can feel…perhaps a little longer than it actually is! Once you have visited the zoo a few times, gone to the museum, visited the beach and perhaps had a little holiday with the family, the remaining five weeks can feel a little stretched! But, come the start of term, when you’re hanging out the new uniforms and making the first packed lunches, you feel an inexplicable wave of sadness at another holiday over and a new term of school drop-offs and pick-ups, PE kit hunts and endless washing cycles. But it isn’t all sadness and work, new school terms also mean something else new: books! It may just be us, but there’s something really satisfying about opening the creaky new exercise book and starting the daily tradition of writing which pages have been read, how well your child tackled new words and what the teacher thinks of your child’s progress.

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Going back to school isn’t necessarily something children look forward too, though. Not all children are happy at school, and some struggle with anxiety and worry about being at school.

Gillie Can Share

A survey of over 1,000 eight to 15-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales, conducted for the children’s charity Barnardo’s, has shown the main anxieties that children face. The charity says that the report shows why it’s important that more money is put into providing mental health support for young people in schools.

childrens book illustration

The report says that nearly half of children worry that school work will be too hard when they go back to school after summer. About a quarter of all children asked worried about changing school, class or teachers. This increased to half of all 11-year-olds, who worried about moving up from primary to secondary school. It’s important that you talk to your children about their fears and worries before they get to school, as the last thing you want is a sleepless night before the first day. Perhaps remind your child that the work doesn’t get harder, it’s just that the teachers are going to work harder with the children to make sure they achieve more each term. If they feel they’ll struggle with more homework, make sure you tell them you will help them each day straight from school (or when you are able to) and make sure they know to ask for help before they feel they are overwhelmed by work.

childrens book illustration

Bullying is another concern children have. Four out of five children (77 per cent) said they know a friend who has experienced a form of bullying. Encourage your children to talk about problems they are having with school mates, and look out for any signs that your child may be going quiet after school, more introverted or worried about going to school. The most important advice when it comes to bullying is to speak about it to someone you trust, and the good news is that the study found most children would tell a friend, family member or teacher if another child or young person did or said something to them that made them feel upset.

Social media and its affect on mental health was highlighted by Barnardo’s as something children worry about before going back to school. Make sure you talk to your children about their use of social media. Ask them what platforms they use, and check in on them if they spend a lot of time in their room. Try and get them down with the rest of the family for an hour (or even ten minutes!) of an evening, and encourage them to see friends rather than chat to them online. Social media can be a very positive and useful tool, but it can also be a way for children to be targeted and bullied. Try to watch for any signs that your child is struggling with problems connected to social media use. It isn’t easy, and it is very tricky to monitor, but as with all of these things, open and honest communication is key. Admittedly, getting teenagers to open up isn’t easy! Keep communication up with teachers and, if you can, your children’s friends. Keep strong and keep asking questions. You can’t over-love your kids!

children's illustrator

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home