It is back-to school time… an exciting time… full of possibilities… and worries… The new school year implies new teachers, new class-mates, new classes… new experiences… And as we know, all this brings uncertainty that triggers anxiety in your child.
There are a few things you can do to help minimize your child’s anxiety…
Hang-out a bit more with your child these days
Your mere presence is soothing & comforting, and provides the setting that may allow your child to talk to you about their worries, if they want to.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings
Telling your child you know they might be worried about their new teachers, class-performance, or their class-mates allows them to feel better, knowing it is OK to feel that way, and that they are not the only one experiencing anxiety towards the new school year.
Plan with your child how to handle situations he/she is afraid of
Visualizing and describing their worst-case scenarios and planning the best way to handle them will decrease your child’s and your own anxiety.
Do this in a conversation in which your child communicates their fears and you are totally receptive (do not disregard their fears). Allow them to express scenarios they dread and come out with ideas into how to handle them, listen to your child and help them come out with the best workable plans for each one of the fears expressed.
Treat this time as a continuation of your child’s school path, instead of something totally new.
The mere knowledge that it is a known and familiar experience eases back-to-school anxiety. When your child understands that this is part of their life, that it is a natural continuation of school, that it involves teachers, classes, classmates, and learning that they already know, it becomes less frightening. They already know what school involves, it is just a new year since they are growing up.
Set positive expectations
Mentioning there will be nice kids to be friends and to hang-out with can set a positive expectation that will allow your child to be open to friendly interactions with other children in school.
Balance your activities and trust your intuitiveness
As a parent you are susceptible of over-stressing yourself on assisting your child to a seamless new-school-year transition. Do your best; do what you can manage without stressing yourself. Balance your and your child’s needs, and make sure to find time each day to relax and enjoy your child.