Lunchbox? Check. Notebooks? Check. Pencils? Check. You’re all set for the new school year. But what can you do if your child feels anxious about going back to school? These 4 steps will help ease the stress sometimes associated with starting a new school year.
1. Get back to basics
In an article published at newswise.com, Dr Stephanie Marcy, a paediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, says the first step is to make sure your child gets a good night’s rest. Start this routine a few days before school begins to ease children into early nights and early mornings. A proper routine reduces stress caused by uncertainty and will make your child feel safe.
What is your child worried about? What are their concerns and what do they expect? Reassure them as best you can. Remind them that they are smart and capable. Review their schedule once school has started, as this also gives them the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. They will feel less anxious once they have a clearer idea of what to expect. And remember, feeling upset is sometimes just a natural reaction. It means the end of a holiday, after all!
One way to manage anxiety is to be prepared. Help your child to set out their clothes the night before, to check their schedule and to make sure they have everything they might need. Once everything is packed and ready, let them put their backpack in the kitchen or at the back door – somewhere where they can just grab it the next morning. Always put it in the same place.
4. Be positive
As the parent, you need to be a role model of appropriate behaviour, says Marcy. Your children will follow your lead. Positive input about school activities, classmates and teachers will help create a positive attitude in your child.