It’s that time of year again! Parents are thrilled but your child(ren) might be a little anxious. Whether it’s starting kindergarten, going to high school or just getting back into the regular swing of things, those first few moments can be quite uncomfortable for some.
“Anxiety that continues throughout the day and doesn’t dissipate shortly thereafter, or anxiety that lasts more than the first few weeks of school, may warrant a consultation with a psychologist or therapist”, says Dr. Maria Antoniou, Clinical Psychologist at The Therapy Centre in Oakville.
Here are 5 helpful and encouraging tips for easing your child’s back to school anxiety, from a John Hopkins Children’s Center Psychologist:
- A week or two before school begins, start preparing children for the upcoming transition by getting back into school-year routines, such as an earlier bedtime and selecting the next day’s clothes ahead of time.
- Arrange play dates with one or more familiar peers before school starts. Research shows that the presence of a familiar peer during school transitions can improve children’s academic and emotional adjustment.
- Visit the school before the school year begins, rehearse the drop off, and spend time on the playground or inside the classroom if the building is open. Have the child practice walking into class while the parent waits outside or down the hall.
- Come up with a prize or a rewarding activity that the child could earn for separating from mom or dad to attend school.
- Validate the child’s worry by acknowledging that, like any new activity, starting school can be hard but soon becomes easy and fun.
At The Therapy Centre, we understand the difference between first day jitters or a more serious problem – we are here to help. 289-291-0205.
Irena Fleming & Dr. Maria Antoniou, C.Psych