Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Back to School Anxiety
As a fun summer winds down to an end, many young children may experience anxiety about returning to school this Fall – especially if your child is an incoming transfer student. Before the first day, many children may pretend to have a fever or freeze right before they open the school doors, asking themselves: Will I meet new friends? Will the teacher like me? Will the homework be too hard?
The good news is, back to school anxiety is normal in young children and is easy to quell once you pinpoint the cause.
Finding the Root of Your Child’s Anxiety
Talking with your child is the best way to get to the heart of the issue. If your child is shy you may ask her/him how many children he/she thinks will be in the class to help them start talking about their fears and feelings. For some shy children, joining a large class may be the source of their anxiety. For others, they might be anxious that they won’t have enough friends or the teacher may not be nice. If your child is a high achiever they may worry that they won’t receive the best grades in the class, or even fail.
If your child is worried about academics, be sure to remind them of all the times they have succeeded and that the teacher and you will be there to provide support when they need it.
If your child is shy, acknowledge their struggle to accept an overwhelming environment with new students they haven’t met before. Remind them that at one point, their best friend was a stranger and that maybe the next stranger they meet will be their next best friend.
If your child is anxious about changing schools, try role-playing. Pretend to be a new friend that your child will meet at school and have a friendly conversation with them. If that works, keep changing the setting. Pretend to be a student at the cafeteria, or at recess. With time, they will slowly become more comfortable with making new friends.
Establishing a Continuance Plan
Once your child starts their new school year, keep the conversations flowing. Try not to settle for “good” and “fine” or shrugs when you ask how their day went at school. Continue the communication to pinpoint if your child is still feeling anxious or shy.
If your child still feels anxious, consider talking to his/her teacher and getting to the root of your child’s anxiety. Perhaps you can suggest more teacher interaction with your child or placing your child into small-groups to facilitate interaction and friendship.
At home, you can take your child to the park to make friends with other children to provide a more familiar, comfortable environment. Gently encouraging your child to step outside their boundaries to make a new friend can build a confidence will work just as effectively.
Most importantly, your child will always know that he/she has a home at Jump!