Reducing Student Anxiety
Every child has had some reservations about going to school at one time or another. This period of anxiety is stressful for you as a parent. You want to be able to send them off to school knowing they are happy and comfortable, but this doesn’t always happen instantly. Do you ever find that your child is nervous to leave you before school? This is very normal, especially for younger children. I had a lot of separation anxiety when I was young. My mom struggled to get me to go to school without crying for the first few years of my education. It was difficult for her to watch me be upset going to school, but she was able to help me through it by pushing me to make friends and be independent of her. Helping your child manage this anxiety from an early age is very important for their social and mental development in the future.
Talk it out:
One of the best ways to understand and work through your child’s anxiety is to discuss what makes them nervous about school. Communication is key to solving almost every problem. When you talk about the problem it is easier to work though it and make your child feel more comfortable. Telling them things that will help ease their mind will calm them throughout the day.
Give them something special:
When I was younger my mom gave me a necklace that had a picture of us in it. I still remember looking at it during the school day and feeling better knowing that I would be able to see her soon. A little memento can help your child feel more comfortable when they start to get anxious. If they have a favorite toy or stuffed animal, put it in their backpack for them. Knowing that they have something that reminds them of you will make all the difference.
Act it out:
Go through a typical school day with your child. Ask them what they are nervous about. Act out meeting someone new on the playground, or confronting an intimidating situation. Show them that school can be fun and is important for their future. When they have already confronted a situation, or at least pretended to, they will be more confident when they face the real thing.
Arrange a meeting with the teacher:
The teacher is the adult they will see the most during the day. Building trust between your child and the teacher will help them feel more comfortable at school. Setting up a meeting and explaining that your child may be nervous the first few weeks will let the teacher know to keep an eye on your child. Most teachers will gladly be willing to make the child feel as comfortable as possible. If your child meets the teacher before their first day of class it will make them feel much safer.
Encourage focusing on hobbies:
Setting up activities after school that your child enjoys can make them more excited to go to school. Having a fun activity to look forward to can help ease their stress. Another great benefit of an after school hobby is that they will be able to make stronger friendships by spending extra time with them doing something they enjoy. Teamwork, leadership, and a collaborative environment help to set your child up for success.
Doing these minimal, but extremely effective things will decrease your child’s overall stress and anxiety. Every parent wants their child to have a happy and stress-free school day from beginning to end. Working with the teachers and administration, we can find ways to make the student feel comfortable from the time they get to school until they are dismissed.