Back to school is exciting, fun, and very nerve-wrecking for many kids. Children, especially younger ones or those with developmental or health issues, often feel nervous and anxious when returning to school. If your child is experiencing some level of anxiety about going back to class, talk to them about it and use these tips and tricks to help ease their panic. These tips won’t just help them with back to school anxiety, the techniques talked about here are useful in many different situations where your child might experience stress and provide them with a good foundation of coping skills for later in life.
Talk with your kids about school
The best way to ease your child’s fears is to just talk with them. Tell them about when you were a kid and how school was so much fun because you got to see all your old friends and make new ones. Tell them about the fun things the following year will hold for each of them, and ask them about the goals they have for that year. Ask them what they are looking forward to and what they are concerned about for the school year. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you, sometimes just getting those anxious thoughts into the open can be a relief.
Don’t make blanket reassurances- anything can happen! Don’t say “you will make lots of friends” because that may not be true if your child doesn’t know how to make friends. Instead of making such statements, give them skills to solve the problems they foresee. If your child is afraid of failing a class, make a strategy to help them with that class. If they are afraid they won’t make friends, help them with ways to make friends. Teach them that for every problem they have support in finding a solution.
Take care of the basics
Make sure your child doesn’t go to school hungry or tired. These things trigger anxiety in most people, but especially children. Set up a routine to make sure their needs are always cared of, even on busy mornings and late nights. Start this routine a week or two before school starts again. This way they will be well rested at the start of school and not catching up on their rest from the first day.
Start the routine
If your child has anxiety, they will probably benefit from a routine or schedule. Most people with anxiety issues do. Help your child know what to expect- and what is expected of them- of school days by getting into the routine two weeks before school begins. Drive by the school or walk to it. Talk to your child constantly about the routine, the things they will do at school, and their teacher. By the time school begins, your child will be able to use this preparation as a way to stay calm because it is something they are familiar with already.
Teach coping skills
Breathing, meditating, exercise, and counting to 10 are all great ways to get your child to cope with anxiety. Teach them coping skills that best suit them so that they can calm down if anxiety hits them when they are away from you.