Now that we’ve passed the Labor Day landmark, school is back in full swing. Everyone has a new teacher now and the classroom culture is being established. Your child might adjust easily, so this time of year is no big deal to them. For other kids, this can be a difficult time. That’s because a change of environment brings about a level of anxiety. If that’s the case for your child, you might be feeling this from them at home also.
Each child will exhibit this anxiety in different ways. Your son or daughter could be displaying hostility towards siblings. Their appetite could be down, or up. Maybe your child is just acting out more, trying to get attention.
Anxiety may be displayed in their actions and attitudes about school. Your child can weave tall tales about how their teacher is mean. They could be difficult to get to bed at night, have trouble sleeping, or have any number of excuses to not go to school.
Here are seven tips to help you and your child cope with their anxiety:
- Be empathetic and listen. Don’t dismiss these feelings from your child because they are very real. Part of our job is to teach our child listening and coping skills.
- Remain positive. By simply realizing that this is happening, you can tailor your approach to your child in a positive manner.
- Ask your child questions. If you’ll take the time to ask questions about their situation, you’ll learn a lot more about what’s going on. This approach also reinforces the fact that you’re interested in your child and in their success.
- Make the connection with their teacher. I cannot say this often enough. Teachers yearn to have interested, involved parents. Once your child’s teacher knows that they have your full support, they are free to do their best work. If you have a concern with the teacher or some classroom rule, take it up with them privately. If your child hears you say something negative about the teacher or school in general, this naturally raises their anxiety level.
- Point out the positive aspects of school. It may sound trite, but simple reminders about their friends being there, recess, learning something new, or other things can ease their anxiety.
- Let your child know what’s expected and reward the right behaviors. Maybe your child thinks it is OK to act out their anxiety. Giving them guidelines and recognition when they do the right things will smooth over any rough spots.
- Setup good routines. When a child knows what to expect next, it removes stress. Establishing bedtimes, meal time, homework and study times and a predictable morning routine will make things easier on your child and on the entire family.
A little anxiety about something new is natural in all of us. It’s our job as parents to alleviate that anxiety, whether rooted in fear, uncertainty, or just dislike over the end of summer. In what ways have you successfully handled your child’s anxiety? Leave a comment for other readers to discuss. If you like this, please click like or share it with your friends using the buttons below.