Back to school time is upon on us. I found with my own son, he has anxiety about starting a new school year. Not only is he starting a new year but he is also starting at a new school. Thus, making the butterflies in his stomach work overtime. Here are a few tips that can help kids and parents overcome anxiety at their level of “newness”.
TAKE PART IN BACK TO SCHOOL MIXERS
How much better can it be when you actually know what you are facing? If your child’s school is offering a back to school ice-cream social, barbeque, potluck, etc., make plans to attend. It allows you and your child to connect with teachers, staff, administration, and other families. If your child’s a returning student, it is a good reconnect with old friends and introduction to new adults in the building. Then there is also a chance there’s free food, which I love.
REMIND YOUR CHILD OF THEIR PREVIOUS ROCKSTAR BEHAVIOUR
When dealing with kids, sometime we have to remind them and ourselves that life has many familiarities in it, regardless of the curves it throws at us. Therefore, remind them of a time when they previously conquered a fear. Remind them how they handled the time they were the new kid in dance class or when they joined a new sports team. They made it through unscathed and this time should be no different.
LET THEM PRE-VENT THEIR FEARS
The night before school started my son waited for my sister to come home from work so they could talk about his fears. This helped as I had a similar talk with him on the ride to school and reiterated some of the nuggets of wisdom she shared. If you think your kid might cry you might want to have this talk the night before if possible.
PRAY OR MEDITATE WITH THEM
It has been our daily ritual before school since kindergarten that we pray together aloud. I think the words comfort my son because he hears my love in those words. The occasional joke slips through and it teaches him that God is with us daily. If you don’t pray, mediation is another way to help clear those worries out of their little heads.
HUG. PRAISE. SMILE.
As you turn to walk through the door, smile at them. That will make them smile back. Before you walk away, hug them so they feel your love and you can transfer some of your calm energy. Whisper a phrase of praise, for example “you got this” or “you’re the bravest person I know” just as a parting word of encouragement.
The irony in all of this, you will not recognize the little person glistening with joy and a barrage of stories laced with laughter, names of new friends, and anticipation of what the year has in store, on the ride home. They will differ so greatly from the person you dropped off that morning. You smile to yourself and think in your head that they were worried for nothing at all.
How does your child react to going back to school or starting a new school?