As our sweet summers start to fade, the back to school bells are ready to ring! And, just as we adults would be nervous to start a new job, many kids can get anxious about returning to school. This morning on Fox 5 San Diego, Breezy Mama joined Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rachel Goldenhar and Family Medicine Specialist Dr. Melinda Silva to discuss tips for kids who are nervous about school starting, a child who is concerned over which teacher they will get and tips for separation anxiety at drop off (read: hysterically crying child).
1. Problem Solve
If your child expresses they are nervous about returning to school, always acknowledge their feelings. Never respond with, “You will be fine!” Ask them specifically what they are concerned about. For example, Dr. Goldenhar pointed out: Are they worried no one will play hand ball with them? Encourage them to wait in the handball line as they are sure to have someone to play with soon! Sit down together and find the solutions to what they are nervous about.
2. Have Them Pack a Picture
Encourage a child who is jittery about their impending return to pack a favorite picture of mom, dad or the pet (or all 3!) that will remind them their loved ones are always near by.
3. Give the Teacher a Chance.
For the child who really wants to be in only one teacher’s class, encourage them to give any teacher a chance! As Dr. Silva shared, her daughter didn’t get the teacher she wanted one year and it ended up being her all time favorite teacher!
4. Visit the Classroom Beforehand
Shhh… it’s a li’l secret that teachers are frantically getting their rooms ready the entire week before school! Pop in to say hello so your anxious child can get a sneak peek into what’s ahead and be less nervous knowing better what to expect… and where they will sit!
5. Check Our Own Anxiety!
Are you anxious about the teacher your child will get? Worried about the carpool, packing lunches, homework returning, etc? This will rev up your child’s anxiety as well, so do your best to not let your stress fall onto your child’s shoulders.
6. Be Confident at Drop Off
If you have a child who has separation anxiety at drop off, know that teachers are used to comforting these kids! Feel confident in dropping off your child… and then be sure to leave. Seeing you leave lets them know that you think they are safe and trust their teachers, allowing them to calm down fairly quickly. If there truly is an issue, the teachers will update you.
For the above tips and more, watch the Fox 5 “Ask the Moms” segment here: