Someday, your child may be thrilled by the promise of fresh notebooks, the heft of a brand new backpack, and the cinnamon scent of pencil shavings. But if they’re just starting school, or venturing into a new school, they’re more likely to be jittery and unsettled by all the preparations.
Just like their parents.
Going to school is a big transition for everyone, so it’s absolutely normal to be anxious about the Big Day. Check out these simple, effective ways to cope.
Listen To Your Child’s Worries
Any transition into the unknown can cause anxiety, but coping with those feelings starts with pinning down the sources. The weeks that precede the first day of school are a great time to listen to your child and gently encourage them to articulate their worries.
Younger children often fear that the teacher will be mean, the children won’t like him, or he’ll have a bathroom accident in the classroom. Older kids may worry about whether they’ll fit in, be able to handle the work, or find their way around a new school. Once you get to the heart of your child’s worries, you can help tackle them, one by one.
Visit The School
If your child expresses worries about the space, try to arrange a visit ahead of time. Teachers often arrive at least a week before opening day to arrange their classrooms and lesson plans, so you may be able to schedule a quick meet-and-greet. Practicing the morning ritual of getting up, dressed, fed, and to school can also help ease anxiety when the Big Day arrives.
Some children may be worried about facing a whole classroom full of kids they don’t yet know. What if one of them is mean? How is she going to make friends? By role playing through such situations, you can help coach your child in ways to defuse uncomfortable situations and initiate new friendships.
Emphasize The Positive
Worries can crowd the mind and push out good thoughts altogether. Encourage your child to find something to look forward to, whether it’s cracking open that new box of crayons, wearing a new pair of sneakers, or playing in the school playground.
Be Calm, Cool, And Collected
Parents are naturally anxious about this important transition in a child’s life. As natural as your anxiety is, the best thing you can do is empower them to take charge of their feelings. Children take cues from their parents, so it’s important to model the kind of calm and surety that you want your children to feel.
After all, the best gift we can give our kids, especially during anxious times, is a sense of confidence and empowerment.