Tips For Helping Kids With Back-To-School Anxieties
With back-to-school season in full swing, some parents may be finding that their otherwise happy children become bundles of nerves and anxiety. While some degree of anxiety is expected, when that anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with your child's ability to get an education, it is worrisome. Here's a look at a few things you can do to help your child deal with that anxiety and move forward.
Listen and Validate
The most important thing is to set the stage for supportive communication. To do this, you need to show your child that you are not only willing to listen to their concerns but are also able to offer some validation of their feelings. This helps your child to feel understood and supported. Validate his or her feelings by repeating their statements to show that you understand how they feel and explaining that fear and anxiety are normal emotions. Make sure that you are genuine in your interactions, because your child will be able to sense if you're not fully supportive.
Provide Coping Strategies
If you have any coping strategies that you have used personally to deal with anxiety, spend some time teaching your child about them. Sharing how you cope will not only give your child additional tools to work through things but will also show them that they are not alone in their uncertainty and emotion.
You can do more to support your child's coping strategies by reaching out to a local counseling facility. The counselors will provide a supportive, educational environment that not only shows your child how to recognize their emotions but how to respond to them in constructive ways. The counselors will also provide an impartial ear to listen, which can help kids work through their emotions more quickly.
Visit Ahead of Time
Especially if you're looking at a new school this year, take some time in the weeks leading up to the first day of school to visit and tour the facility while there are no students there. This is helpful for kids with anxiety caused by the unknown, because the school will no longer be unfamiliar territory. Talk with the school administration about the possibility of spending an hour or two at the school a few days a week in the last couple of weeks before school.
Back-to-school anxiety doesn't have to be crippling. With the tips here and the help of a counselor, you can give your child the skills and understanding needed to deal with those emotions.