Starting a new school or term can be both exciting and daunting for children. It is only natural to feel anxious when starting something new, like a new term or indeed a new school. With so much of their lives spent in the classroom, it is important to look out for signs and do all you can as parents and teachers to ease any feelings of trepidation.
The signs of their anxieties, however, can all too often go unnoticed or be misinterpreted. So, try to look out for changes in behaviour.
What to Look Out For
- Your child may become clingy, irritable, exceptionally quiet, or even tearful without expressing why.
- Difficulty sleeping, waking in the night, or bad dreams are also signs that anxiety is disrupting their normal patterns of behaviour. Wetting the bed is also a signal to act.
- Fears around school can affect confidence, and some older children will start to avoid friends and situations that cause them anxiety. They may even avoid everyday tasks or try something new.
- Lack of concentration or angry outbursts are also quite common when a young person is stressed.
- When a child’s thoughts become too negative, they will start to predict that bad things will happen. It is essential that as a parent you can be involved in allaying their fears and worries.
How You Can Help Ease Their Anxieties
Let’s look at some of the recommendations to keep your child’s fears and anxieties around school at bay.
Talk to your child about their feelings and concerns regarding school.
Encourage them to share any worries they may have. You may have to talk to them over a milkshake or a walk in the park to do this.
Establish a Routine
Create a consistent daily routine that includes set times for homework, meals, and bedtime. This helps provide structure and stability. Insecurity can be at the heart of their anxieties.
Maintain a positive attitude about school. Highlight the exciting aspects of learning and the opportunities it offers. Negativity is contagious.
Help your child get organized by providing school supplies and a designated study area. This can be fun. Teach them organizational skills to manage their assignments and responsibilities.
Be an active listener when your child talks about their day. Show interest in their experiences and be supportive.
Attend parent-teacher meetings and school events. Being involved in your child’s education demonstrates your commitment to their success.
Promote Healthy Habits
Encourage good sleep, nutrition, and physical activity to ensure your child’s overall well-being and ability to focus on school.
If your child experiences anxiety about school, work together to identify triggers and coping strategies. Consider seeking professional help if needed.
Set Realistic Expectations
Encourage your child to do their best, but also be realistic about their abilities and limitations. Avoid undue pressure.
Celebrate your child’s successes, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and motivation.
Limit Screen Time
Balance screen time with other activities, especially on school nights, to ensure they get enough rest. Social media is a growing concern for children’s self-esteem. Constant comparison and not having downtime away from social groups is no good for anyone.
Talk to your child about making friends and dealing with social situations. Provide guidance on conflict resolution and empathy. It has been proven that sharing the school experience with a friend as a peer eases the tension, so why not invite school friends around for playdays, especially prior to returning to school?
Keep up to date with your child’s school activities, assignments, and any changes in the curriculum. Children are increasingly under pressure to perform well, and this is adding to their worries. Being well prepared will allow you to offer help when needed and reassurance when the pressure is on.
Teach Time Management
Help your child learn time management skills to prioritize tasks and complete assignments on time. Diaries and charts on walls and fridges always make everyone in the house feel like things are in hand and remind us when our brains are becoming overloaded.
Foster independence by allowing your child to take responsibility for their schoolwork and decisions. Helicopter parenting is not the answer. Older children in particular need space.
Understand that adjusting to school can be challenging. Be patient and supportive as your child adapts to the new routine.
Remember that each child is unique, so tailor your support to their individual needs and personalities. Your ongoing involvement and encouragement will go a long way in helping them succeed in school.
Downtime is essential, and encouraging reading as a form of relaxation is a great way of getting them to take time out from the woes of the day. Research from the National Literacy Trust is now showing that literacy levels under 14 can affect mental health later in life, and the government is acting on this to combat today’s mental health challenges.
At Books2all.co.uk you can help schools by donating unwanted books to help children have access to reading material that will not only entertain them but keep their mental health on an even keel which is essential for their life success.