Welcome back to Copopa! I hope everyone had a wonderful summer. I wanted to give you some tips to help you and your children ease into the change of back to school. From time to time, many children experience anxiety. This may occur at the onset of the school year, after a sickness in which the child has been home for a number of days, or at any time. The child may express fear of going to school, fear of the bus, or general anxiousness about the school day, teacher, or classmates. There are things a parent may be able to do to help ease the transition and lessen the child’s anxiety. I have included a few tips for you.
· Actively listen to try and understand the child’s feelings and to establish a feeling of trust and security.
·Explain all new situations and expectations clearly. Role playing expected behaviors may help the child feel more confident about meeting the new situation.
·Many parents include something from home in the child’s lunch box or inside the book bag- a picture or some favorite, small object, for instance.
·Tell anxious children that they have a right to fail. Take away the pressure to excel and to be perfect.
·Avoid overemphasizing the importance of success on a test or task. Provide encouragement for the child’s attempts while being careful to keep expectations realistic.
·Some tension and anxiety is related to fear of the unknown. Thorough explanations by a trusted adult may reduce anxiety in many situations.
·Do not allow your child to stay home from school. This may give the child the idea that there is truly something to fear from school and that you, as the trusted adult, not only also fear the situation but you believe that your child is not capable of handling it. Having your child ride the school bus is the best choice, however if you decide to drive your child to school, drop him/her off quickly.
·Stay positive and matter of fact with your child. Try to smile (even when your heart is breaking!) and relay to him or her all of the fun things he or she will learn and do at school. Remaining upbeat will convey to your child that you believe school is a great place to be and, most importantly, that you trust your child to succeed. This will build confidence and resilience.Reassure them that you will see them soon, then send them off!
I hope these tips can provide you with some useful things to try. If the anxiety is severe and does not seem to improve over time, your child may need some extra help. Please do not hesitate to call if you need a referral, or for more information.