“The Average High School Student Today Has The Same Anxiety Levels As The Average Psychiatric Patient In The Early 1950’s.”
Times of change or transition usually cause some level of anxiety in people of all age groups. This is particularly true for kids who will attend kindergarten or those going to a new school. Back to school anxiety for kids may be accompanied by symptoms like clingy behavior, temper tantrums, crying, irritability, sullenness, complaints of stomach pains or headaches, or withdrawal behaviour.
Back to school anxiety for kids may be related to different worries of the children such as finding friends, bonding with new teachers, fitting-in, and other school-related concerns. Presented below are powerful ways parents can deal with back to school anxiety for kids.
1. Ensure that the basics are taken care of
Lack of sleep or tiredness can make coping quite difficult. The same is the case when kids are hungry. Anxiety can cause kids to forget eating, or it may cause them to not get sufficient sleep, or it may cause them to not feel hungry. Lack of sleep or food in the stomach can not only increase anxiety, but also make kids very irritable. Hence, parents need to ensure that the kids eat nutritious food and get ample sleep before school starts.
Also, make sure that the child gets into a predictable routine that coincides with the routine of going back to school. This routine will involve bedtime and morning habits, schedules of meals, etc.
2. Encourage kids to share their concerns and fears
Back to school anxiety for kids is usually related to fears and worries. Hence, parents should talk to the children and create the right environment so that they can share their concerns. Regularly talk to the child a few weeks before going back to school and learn about their feelings about going back to school.
3. Find practical solutions instead of offering assurances
Assurance is good, but parents should find a solution to all the concerns of the child with back to school anxiety. Only solutions can offer permanent end to their school worries. Instead of saying that everything will be fine, talk to the child and make a plan about how a specific worrying situation can be handled. This will help the child cope better and eventually overcome a situation which worries him/her.
Parents can try role-playing a specific situation with the child and offer different options of how to resolve the problem. You can redirect the child’s focus from their concerns to more positive aspects of going back to school. Parents also need to pay attention to their own behaviours as well; you need to be supportive of the child, but remain firm. For example, if the child throws a tantrum, do not allow the child to stay back at home. Instead be firm, instill confidence in the child, and offer different solutions.
4. Plan Play Dates
The alliances of children can shift with each new year of school. Thus, kids may suddenly struggle with the prospect of finding new friends. In such a scenario, parents can contact the school and get the class list, find out about other kids in those classes, build a network with their parents, and arrange for play dates. This can help prepare the children to assimilate with kids who may attend the same class, thereby preventing back to school anxiety in kids.
How Do You Deal With Back To School Anxiety For Kids? Share Your Comments Below.