How To Deal With Back to School Anxiety
Going back to school can not only create anxiety for the kids, it can also create anxiety on the parents as well. The closer it gets to the first day of school, the more miserable and anxious some kids and parents will get. There are some practical ways to ease back to school anxiety though, ways that can alleviate the stress and fears. Here are some ideas to ease your kids back into the school year.
Today’s students are under a lot more pressure than parents were as kids. It’s easy to become annoyed and tell your child to “just get over it”, but that isn’t necessarily productive, in fact, it can actually make the anxiety worse in the long run.
Understanding will go a long ways in helping your kids to feel better about things. Psychologists suggest instead of telling a child to “just get over it” they sit down and discuss the fears and help their kids to develop some coping tools. Address the concerns and don’t down play them.
Keep It In Perspective
For some kids, school is a big scary building with scary people. Help your kids to identify what it is they are afraid of and give them the coping tools to overcome their fears. Introduce their fear to a name. You could call it the “worry worm” or “scaredy cat” or whatever else you and your kids come up with. Now that fear has a name you can help your kids recognize that it’s fear talking, not reality.
Teach your child that “Scaredy Cat” or “worry worm” says that it’s okay to go to school. “I will like my teachers” or the like. For teens and tweens you can help the kids identify exactly what it is they are afraid of and help them find a safe way to cope.
Meet The Teacher
Knowing the teacher is often a great way for kids to feel comfortable at school. Meet the teacher at open house, the beginning of the school barbecue or whatever your local school district has to help kids ease into the school year. If the school is new to your kids, try to get a tour of the school before the year starts and help your kids to find where their classes will be. Pair your kids up with kids that already attend school there.
In a few rare cases, your kids may need to talk to someone other than you about their fear of going to school. Counselors, therapists, and even a family doctor or clergy can often be a great sounding board for kids who have unreasonable fears. Often kids will listen to someone else better than a parent.
It’s important for the parents to feel confident and to portray this to the kids. If kids sense your anxiety, they too will feel anxiety. Even if you’re nervous, show the example and portray that you’re confident that they will do just fine. Give them positive affirmations and encourage them that they can do it.
Many kids thrive on routine. Have a morning goodbye ritual that helps them to ease into their day. Routines help kids to feel secure about everything, from bedtime to going to school a routine can help save the day for any harried parent. A goodbye ritual could be as simple as a creative hug, kiss, handshake or ritual.