Back To School Prep: Dealing With Anxiety
This time of year is full of excitement for a child: discovering who his or her new teacher will be, shopping for school supplies, anticipating seeing school friends regularly again, and more. But it can also be a season fraught with anxiety. To help your child ease into the school year with as much positive anticipation versus stress, here are a few tips:
Act out the routine. Help your child feel more ready for school by practicing the daily routine, starting with what happens at home before school. Take your child to the school building to walk around and get comfortable with where key landmarks are (the cafeteria, the gym, the bathroom, etc.) and make the activity seem as upbeat as possible.
Don’t lay the groundwork for anxiety. Some children are more independent than others, and are ready to take on school without worry of missing Mom and Dad during the day. That’s behavior to be encouraged, but it can be tough if Mom and Dad are having a tough time dealing with the transition. If you’re sad about your child hitting this new milestone, don’t let on: you could plant seeds of stress without meaning to!
Reunite with friends. Whether your child is returning to school or starting his or her first year there, it’s likely you know some friends who will be alongside your kiddo. Invite a couple of them over before the school year starts to remind your child how much fun it will be to have buddies around all day!
Hear your child out. If you sense that there’s some worry about school, encourage your child to verbalize it as best as possible. Make sure your child knows that it’s okay to be nervous, and that talking through some of those worries can help them feel easier to tackle.
Send a piece of home along. For children who are worried about missing home during the day, consider sending someone from home to school, too. Items like a favorite stuffed animal or blanket tend to work well.