Getting ready for a new school year can be an exciting time for students and parents, but it may also cause anxiety and uneasiness. Whether your child is heading off to kindergarten, grade four, high school, or post-secondary, leaving the comfort and familiarity of home can bring about strong feelings.
Worry and stress are natural responses when we have to face new and unfamiliar situations. However, some kids are more sensitive and anxious than others and transitions, such as going back to school can be difficult. Learning to cope with stress promotes positive mental health and can be supported by parents and teachers. Some tips to help support your child include:
- Listen to your child’s worries and fears without minimizing or criticizing them.
- Once you have identified their worries, help them problem solve and think of ways to alleviate the anxiety.
- Establish routines to promote predictability.
- Do not overschedule your child. Allow “down time” and have them unplug from technology.
- Support a healthy lifestyle. Adequate sleep, a healthy diet and exercise help regulate emotions.
- Focus on the positive. Ask your child, “What are you looking forward to?” or “What was the best part of your day?”
- Laugh and have fun with your child.
- Practice Mindfulness.
It is important to remember, that when our children are anxious about attending school, they must learn to be comfortable with their uncomfortable feelings, work through them, and not avoid their fears.