If you have a little one who will soon be starting school for the first time, or older children going back to school this week or next, the tension might be a little higher in your house. In addition to getting physically ready with school supplies and new shoes, your child might need to get emotionally ready for school. And guess what – you might too! Here are some suggestions for helping your child process her thoughts and feelings about going to school.
- Name her feelings. If she feels felt, it can take the edge off the big emotions.
- Tell the story. Talk about what happens at school. Focus on the positive. Make sure she knows you trust her teacher and you will be back to pick her up. If your child is more visual, use pictures to show her the routine.
- Make positive associations. Spend some time at school with your child doing fun things.
- Create a good-bye ritual. Do something predictable that will leave a tiny piece of you with your child every morning.
- Build a teamwork relationship with your child’s teachers. Get to know your child’s teachers, and help them get to know your child. Work together to prevent difficult situations, and to solve problems.
Despite all our best intentions and efforts, some kids still have anxiety about school. To help us decide when to find outside help, here again is Tina Payne Bryson: