5 WAYS TO HELP ANXIOUS KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL
Starting back at school can be a very stressful time for children. Especially if it’s a new school.
Even if it isn’t, going back in to social groups that you’ve been separated from for 6 weeks or longer can be quite daunting. It’s is an awfully long time when you’re only small!
It can also be a stressful time for us as parents to watch them go through all of this. That’s why we thought about putting this list together, so have a read and see if your little ones could benefit from any of the below.
1. Make a plan!
A plan of action is the first step in almost any successful endeavour and this no different. What the plan will look like depends very much on the needs of your particular child but can include things like new stationery and accessories to boost confidence.
Making sure their uniform still fits comfortably! A fresh haircut can also do wonders for confidence.
Perhaps organise a play date with some school friends so that they can re-familiarise outside of the pressure cooker of the classroom.
You can choose to involve your child in the planning process or not depending on how they might feel about it. Either way, they’ll likely go along with new stuff and hanging out with friends whether they realise the benefits or not.
2. Be around
Making sure that your children feel connected and avoiding them feeling isolated is another important part of the process.
There are lots of ways of doing this but here are a few to have a go at if you’re not sure.
When you say goodbye at the school gates, make sure to tell them when you’ll see them next. This might be obvious but will help them to break up there day if being away from you initially makes them anxious.
Leaving a note in their lunchbox is often a nice surprise for them too. The note can say a joke or something silly or have some words of encouragement but either way will serve as a reminder that they are loved and thought about.
3. Validate their worries
If your child volunteers to you that they are feeling anxious or worried, then it’s very important to reassure them that it’s normal and that other kids in their class will be feeling the same. Telling them to ‘stop being silly’ or generally brushing their feelings away will leave them isolated and scared.
It’s really important that you acknowledge their feelings and talk through the various scenarios that are making them anxious. This can be an opportunity to go through some possible positive outcomes that they might not have considered.
4. Stay positive
Most of the fear and anxiety surrounding going back to school involves the unknown. They might be worried about new students, new teachers and new challenges.
Change is scary for many of us young and old and it’s worth trying to turn all of the negatives that they are scared into positives that they can look forward to.
For instance, if there is a new teacher and they’re worried that they might be too strict or unfair, remind them that the new teacher might be even nicer than the old one!
Or if they are worried about not knowing anybody at a new school, remind them that this is a great opportunity to form new friendships that might last a life time.
Or exams for example, these can be a source of immense stress on their little lives. Remind them that everybody else is in the same boat and that they might do really well on the test!
5. Sleep, diet and exercise
These might seem obvious, but we all need reminding sometimes about how important the right food coupled with enough sleep and exercise can be.
Being tired or hungry or lethargic are all sure-fire ways to find yourself struggling with any situation, let alone a stressful one like going back to school.
It’s a big part of our jobs as parents to get this stuff right for our children and the summer holidays aren’t a holiday from a healthy lifestyle.
Keep them moving, be consistent with bed times and get those vegetables eaten!