It’s that time of the year again, and depending on the child, this can be a time of excitement and eagerness -- or a time of stress and anxiety.
Some children have a more difficult time than others making the transition back to school. The following tips can help you ease your child’s anxiety about going back to school:
- Relax. Remember that your moods directly affect your child’s moods, reactions and responses to events. Stay as calm and positive as you can about the upcoming change. If possible, make sure to set aside time to relax and spend time with your family, especially in the last few days before school starts.
- Don’t add new things to your schedule. Back-to-school time is not the time to move, get a new puppy or undergo major home renovations. If possible, wait for any new changes until after the new school year routine has been established and your child has gotten into a groove. Let them cope with one major change at a time.
- Reduce the surprises. One of the biggest sources of anxiety is the unknown. Who is the teacher? What do they look like? Where is my classroom? Do I have any friends in my class? The list of potential unknowns goes on and on. Reduce the surprises by taking advantage of back-to-school events. If none are scheduled, consider taking your child to school and walking around the place a day or two before school is scheduled to begin.
- Throw a “back-to-school party.” Consider inviting your child’s friends over to your home for a back-to-school party. This will give the children the opportunity to reconnect and eliminate some of the social anxiety connected with returning to school. It allows them to commiserate about their anxieties and help each other feel better about beginning school again.
- Don’t dismiss fears. While it is important to remain calm about the beginning of school and not show your own anxieties, it is more important to not be dismissive about your child’s anxieties. Your child’s fears are real and legitimate. Listen to his worries and do not minimize, dismiss or try to talk him out of them. One of the best ways to ease anxiety about beginning school is to let your child know what to expect and help him to feel more in control of the situation.
Even the most well-adjusted students can experience stress or burnout (as can parents) without proper time management. Following are some tips to help you manage your time and your child’s time as the school year begins:
- If starting a new school, plan a visit ahead of time to help your child be more familiar with the new surroundings.
- Get into a routine two weeks in advance by going to bed at your new time and waking up at the new time.
- Before you commit to any activity, make sure you are not overloading your schedule or your child’s schedule.
- When waiting for appointments or phone calls, use the time productively.
- To limit trips to the store, stock up on items that you need frequently.
- Schedule physician appointments ahead of time. Check with your child’s school to see what immunizations or examinations are needed.
- Most importantly, take care of yourself. By using good stress management skills, you can balance stressful situations better.
For more information, call BJC EAP at 314.747.7490 or toll-free 888.505.6444.