What’s a mother to do? With kids who are jittery about school it helps to prepare them and yourself at least a few weeks in advance. Here are eight helpful tips to help you be and feel more prepared:
- Communicate: Talk to your child about how he feels about school without judgment. Listen without jumping in to fix things. But if he balks at school, kindly but firmly tell him why he must go: to obtain an education and because it’s a legal obligation.
- Breathe: No matter what your child says, remain calm. She’s worried and needs you to be the “rock” that can lift her emotions on to your shoulders–your steadiness will calm her. Learn easy belly breathing and teach it to your child. This one technique can make a huge difference for anxious children by helping them take control of their nerves instead of feeling that the jitters are in control.
- Understand: Don’t downplay your child’s fears. Don’t say “It’s silly to feel that way.” Honor your child’s feelings.
- Problem Solve: Work as a team with your child–he is not alone in this. Say, “Together we are going to figure out how to make things better for you.”
- Guide: Encourage your child to become independent through independent playtime and also by letting her work out problems she can manage on her own without your stepping in. Independence cuts the risk of separation anxiety.
- Boost Confidence: Build your child’s self-worth by celebrating his unique qualities and talents to help him cope with and handle life well.
- Prepare: As school approaches, explain to your child what the school morning routine will be like. Look at the school website. Pack book bags and lunches, and lay out clothes the night before. Have your child go to bed early enough to feel rested and wake him in time to eat breakfast
- Believe: Believe in your child’s capacity to work through problems and overcome adversity–your belief in him will help him succeed.