Easing Your Child’s School Anxiety
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT – Counselor’s Corner – Ease Your Child’s School Anxiety the first weeks of school.
Are your children excited, nervous or scared about school?
Or do you have the child that doesn’t even want to hear the name school before it actually begins?
If your child is in the so-called “in” group, he or she may be excited about school,however, that child generally worries about staying in the group. If your child is a jock or in the band, again they may already have a comfortable peer group,but they may wonder if they’ll do ok this year in the activity.
The point is most kids have some anxiety about school,which parents may be able to help tone down.[I hope you read my other column this month, SmileNotes, where I write about preparing your children for walking into a classroom with confidence and are better adept at meeting new people and making friends. There are very important skills that I suggest you practice before school begins. And those things should be rehearsed prior to the discussion that I’ll outline here.]
If your child had someone who pestered him last year, he may wonder if that person will be in his classes. If your daughter’s best friend moved away over the summer, she may wonder whom she’ll sit with at lunch time. Other kids may have heard about someone being bullied or some tragedy happening at a school and worry if it could happen to them or at their school.
Think about the fears and thoughts your child might have. But avoid getting your own fears mixed up with his or hers and passing it on to them. Bring up those problem areas as a discussion to talk about how to handle these various troubles.
To avoid bullies in class, you can encourage your child to sit away from them, generally front and center would be better locations if they are not assigned seats. When they walk in the hall, they need to walk as if they’re going someplace,they are,to class so rehearse eyes straight ahead, standing tall, books held at your side (or in a back pack) and a brisk walk. It also helps to nod or say hi to people you know. Many kids walk with head down and books covering their chest,they look weak,and could be vulnerable to those who like to intimidate as they pick on the weak.
New At School
Your child may worry about not being able to find their classroom. Assure them that everyone is in the same boat. Teachers are very aware of this and are generally in the halls to help get people to the correct places.
A huge fear is whether you’ll have someone to sit within the cafeteria for lunch. If your child is new at the school, talk to them about how to approach a friendly-looking person who is also sitting alone and ask, May I sit here with you? That is easier than going up to an already crowded table and trying to squeeze in.
Tell your child that when a problem comes up that they don’t know how to resolve, they can go to a favorite teacher or the school counselor for suggestions. And, of course, you will also be there for them!
Copyright © 2018, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.
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