School starting makes kids worry. I mean school starting really makes kids worry! Whether kids are popular, not so popular, attractive, not so attractive, smart, not so smart, abled, not so abled, tall, short, lean, wide, boys, girls, new to a school or have gone to the same school in the past… they are all worried! As parents, there is a lot that you can do to help them worry less.
School Starting: Things to remember
- Try to be positive about making new friends and try to go at the idea from different angles, e.g. When you go to lunch, maybe someone will have the same lunch bag or be eating the same things as you like. That might be someone you would like to eat with.
- You can often obtain class lists and set up play dates prior to the start of school.
- Remind your child about his or her interests and the possibility of meeting new friends with the same interests.
- Kids worry about certain teachers. The reputation of the teacher can be a cause of concern. Remind kids that some kids don’t like certain teachers while others love them.
- Kids must be reminded of the value of being respectful and starting off on the right foot.
- Make sure your child knows that you will be on hand for parent teacher night.
- Your child’s level of self-esteem will make or break how he or she adapts to the new school year. Help them with their self-esteem. That won’t happen by telling them that they are wonderful. You are the parent, they know you think they are wonderful.
- If your child’s behavior is out of the ordinary because of school starting, you may need to think about getting outside help. This could mean talking to a teacher or school psychologist.
- Sometimes talking about the things you remember about what they are going through helps and sometimes it doesn’t. Take care in going this route. Your child is not you!
- Make sure that you have all of the necessary school supplies for your child to begin the school year.
- Take your child to the school to walk around and help them get a feel for the school’s layout. Some schools will provide maps to students.
- Make sure your child has their schedule with teacher’s names and room numbers.
- Children with social or behavioral issues are especially at risk because of school starting. Even though it may be difficult, it is better to discuss the potential issues instead of avoiding potential conflict by avoiding the issues. Pick your timing and then pleasantly mention school starting and ask questions about how they feel. Don’t ever negate or minimize their feelings.
- School is about academic success but it is also about fun. When kids experience behavior issues during a school year, it is often easy to make those the focus because of school starting. Remember the times that your child had success and remind them of those times.
- As you prepare for back-to-school time, use strategies to remind kids of the fun parts about school to help activate pleasant memories and reduce anxiety. There are a lot of funny school movies and everyone has a funny story to tell.
- It is very important to get your child acclimated to a new schedule because of school starting. Change bed times and meal times to match the times that are required because of school starting.
School starting can be exciting and rewarding in addition to triggering anxiety. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE WITH YOUR CHILD!