Going back to school is hard in that each new school year presents academic and social challenges. It can make students never want to get out of bed knowing what awaits them. It is important for parents to never give their kids reasons to be scared to go to school and to be able to listen to them when they are having problems that prevent them from wanting to go.
Your child may be too scared and nervous to go back to school whether it is a new school or a returning school. Your child could be worried about having a mean teacher or one too tough that they are quick to give out bad grades. You child could also be scared of not being able to see their friends if they are all in separate classes. They could be nervous about the way they look and not being able to measure up to the other students. Your child could also worry about finding someone nice to sit with at lunch or could be scared of what will happen at home if they are not there. These nerves can cause your child to be more irritable, have temper tantrums, cry, develop headaches or stomach cramps, or will plead or bargain with you to stay home. It may seem tempting to listen to your child’s pleads to let them stay home to protect them but you would also be denying your child of an education which will not help either of you in the long run.
One way that you can help your child is to listen to your child’s fears. Always give your child a reason to be able to tell you everything. Do not be so quick to get a word in or tell them that they are worrying over nothing. Then they will feel like there is no point in opening up to you about their worries if you are going to be quick to dismiss them. Acknowledge how your child feels and let them know that you can identify with them. If your child is afraid that the conversation will be too intense if you save these talks for the night time before they go to bed, let the conversation happen casually. Speak to your child when you pick them up from school, in line at the grocery story, or during dinner to make it less intense. If your child would prefer to speak to you alone, respect their wishes.
Once your child expresses their worries whether it is based on what has already happened or what they are afraid is going to happen, come up with a plan. If your child is scared of lunch time because they are scared no one will sit with them, you can tell them to bring a book or do their homework during lunch so that they are occupied with an activity and not too focused on sitting alone. You can also tell them to find the courage to ask a group of people if you can sit with them. Think of what different scenarios of the situation to give your child more options of what to do. If they say yes, then your child will have new friends. If they say no, you know not to be around those people again.
Allow your child to find ways to look forward to go to school. Make them write a list of what they cannot wait to experience in school whether it is an upcoming field trip, seeing your friends, an event a school club is holding, etc. Put this list in a place where they will wake up reading it, looking forward to the new day that awaits them. If your child cries, begs, and pleads not to leave them in school, be confident and calm. Do not be as nervous as they are as you need to show them that there is nothing to worry about. Ensure them what time you will pick them up from school and you will be there to hear all about their day. Be cheerful when you tell them that you will see them later so ensure them that they will have a good day.
It is also important to make sure that your child is in the right spirits physically and mentally as they go to school. This means making sure your child eats three meals a day and gets plenty of exercise. Sleep is also important for your child to have so that they have enough energy to last them through the day. A couple of weeks before the first day of school, have them get used to waking up early by having them wake up fifteen minutes earlier than usual. Once your child is used to that time, have them wake up half an hour earlier than usual. Make school planning fun like shopping with them for meals for them to bring with lunch, school supplies, and back to school clothes so that you are confident enough to show off your new look. Once your child comes back from school, praise and reward them for their brave behavior like a fun meal at the end of the first day or week and listen to their experiences. You can make a huge impact in how your child behaves by being calm and letting them know you will always be there for them.
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