This guest post was written by Dana Jandhyala. Making education simple and easy to comprehend, Dana has had a long career as an educator teaching in several different schools in multiple countries. Today she helps students with personalized online tutorials at MySchoolPage that help make concepts easy to understand. She works to help students study better and to coach parents so they can facilitate the success of their children.
Do you know that anxiety issues are one of the most common problems for school-aged children today? The start of the school year can trigger or worsen anxiety in stressed out children and teens, as they have to face emotional, social, and educational challenges that they did not have to worry about during the summer. The transition from vacation mode to back-to-school can be a stressful time for both you and your children. This time can be especially daunting for children starting a new school. Here are 6 easy tips that will help your child overcome anxiety at the start of a new school year.
Help Your Children Bond With Their Teachers
Your children need to feel connected with their teachers to focus in class, learn, and be comfortable at school. If your child’s school offers an orientation program, then make sure you attend it and introduce your children to their teachers before school begins. Having at least one buddy in class can also be very helpful to reducing stress. Research shows that a familiar peer can improve your child’s academic and emotional adjustment.
Build A Strong Network Of Other Parents
This network will keep you informed about all the current events happening at your child’s school. It will help you both socially and logistically if you are in touch with other parents. Arranging playdates with your children and some of their classmates will also create a few familiar faces as well as reducing student pressure in class. Consider volunteering at the school or joining the Parent Teacher Association to help plan events and fundraisers.
Talk To Your Children
It is crucial that you help ease your child’s anxiety rather than passing it off or getting angry at them for how they are feeling. Talking to your children about how they feel is so critical so they know that they have your full support and trust before their new school year begins. Try having this conversation casually to avoid a formal talk that may put too much pressure on your child.
Plan In Advance
One of the best ways to get your kids comfortable with going to school is to make sure they are academically prepared. This will give them a boost of confidence, which allows them to settle into school more quickly. Next, make sure that your children has all their school supplies they need for the new school year well in advance of the first day. Try and get the class schedule in advance and visit the school a day before to find their classroom so they know exactly what is going on and are fully prepared. Also, if your child had summer reading, make sure they finish a few days before school and spend some time talking to them about the book(s) they read.
Focus On Positive Aspects
It is beneficial to stay calm and reassure your children by mentioning the positive aspects of the seemingly daunting task ahead of them. Some ideas to bring up include having fun with friends at lunch and recess, enjoying their favorite classes like art or gym and afterschool activities, and discovering all the exciting new things they will learn this school year. Validate your child’s worry by acknowledging that–like any new activity–it can be challenging at first but will soon become easy and fun for them in time.
Keep Your Family Physically Active
Exercise is not only good for the body but is also great for getting rid of nervous energy. Children tend to be more relaxed when they are having fun outdoors in fresh air, and are a lot less concerned about their first day of school. About two weeks prior to your children starting school, encourage them to exercise three to five days a week. Exercising as a family can make it fun, along with playing a sport they enjoy. This will help your children burn energy, reduce anxiety, and sleep more soundly. Also, consider starting their school year off right with a new pair of sneakers, which will add some excitement and pep to their day.
It is actually quite common for children to fret about returning to school, but this is expected to diminish in a few weeks as your children adjust to their new environment. A certain amount of anxiety is normal during this transition, but be mindful of when it seems like they are not adjusting well to their new school or classroom. Don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician if the anxiety persists or gets worse.
How do you help your children transition to a new school year?