Katy ISD and many local preschools are starting school this week! Our 4 year old girls are headed to Pre-K, and our sweet, little one year old boys are headed to school for the first time two days a week. We, as moms, are feeling anxious especially for our boys who will be experiencing school and a long separation from us for the first time. And the girls, are having their own feelings of concern about starting a new school year with new teachers. Below is a blog written by the wonderful, Melanie, Phillips, LCSW, with Brittani Persha Counseling. She provides some simple ways that you can help your child feel more confident and less anxious about that first day back at school.
Brittani Persha Counseling is a local counseling practice that provides therapy for children, family, couples, and individuals in the area. Their team strives to provide you the guidance and expertise that will give you what you need to restore hope and connection in your life, within your families and in your relationships
 

Helping your Child Manage School Anxiety

 
It’s August again. The time of year when you can sense the excitement for fall and the promise of cooler weather. Summer is coming to a close and a new school year stretches out before us. Many parents look forward to the routine that the school year provides and many kids eagerly await the first day of school, anticipating seeing their friends and meeting new teachers.

Butterflies

 
Most kids will feel some nervousness or anxiety about returning to school. Others may feel more intense, mounting fear and worry as the first day approaches. For these kids, the unknown feels overwhelming. Some kids may experience social anxiety, and the thought of being around other kids all day can be anxiety-provoking. Others, often young kids, may be experiencing some separation anxiety, and the thought of leaving you for an entire day can seem frightening. Some kids may complain about a headache or stomach ache on the first day, which are often physical signs of anxiety.
 

Support & Encouragement

 
For most kids, we can use some simple strategies to offer support and encouragement and ensure that their school year is a success. Below are some ways you can help your child feel more confident and less anxious about that first day back at school.

  • Acknowledge Fears: Ask your child how they’re feeling about the first day and listen without offering advice. Often, being able to share feelings with a trusted adult can help them become less overwhelming.
  • Normalize Feelings:Explain that everyone gets nervous sometimes, especially when something is new. Reassure them that even though the anxiety is unpleasant, they will be able to get through it. This will show them that they are strong enough to handle stressful situations.
  • Role Play First Day Fears: Sometimes it helps to act out scenarios that make children nervous. If your child is nervous about making friends, role play a conversation with another student. This gives them a chance to “practice” before the big day. Typically, just the experience of doing this helps reduce the fear.

Get Ready

 

  • Be Prepared:Check the list of needed school supplies and make sure your child has everything he/she needs. Shop for new clothes or uniforms if needed.
  • Practice the routine: Practice waking up early, getting ready for the school day, and driving to school. This will make the first day less scary because they’re already adjusted to the routine.
  • Meet the Teacher:If possible, take your child to meet the teacher before the first day. This will help your child feel less apprehension, knowing that they’ll see a familiar face on the first day.
  • Check-Up! Make sure your child is healthy physically and mentally. Schedule a check-up before the first day and address any emotional or behavioral concerns you have with your child’s doctor or therapist.
  • Prepare the Night Before: Get everything ready the night before: pick out clothes, make lunch, and take a bath or shower. Having everything ready will make your morning go smoothly.
  • Wake up Early: Make sure your child has plenty of time to get ready in the morning. Anxiety can be exacerbated by feeling rushed and worried about being late.
  • Check in with yourself: This time of year can be stressful for parents as well as kids. Make sure you’re managing your own stress and dedicating time each day to do something for yourself. Whether it’s exercising, meditating, spending time with friends and family, or simply having 5 minutes to be with yourself, these moments are important to your mental health.

Back to school anxiety can take the form of typical first-day nervousness or more distressing anxiety, but know that you have resources and supports available to you to help your child thrive at school. Sometimes issues with social anxiety or separation anxiety can take time to resolve and may require working with your child’s school to ensure that he/she feels safe and supported. If the problems aren’t resolved at the beginning of the school year, you may need to seek professional support. At Brittani Persha Counseling, we specialize in working with children and families to manage issues exactly like these. We are here to help you survive and thrive through life’s transitions. Have a healthy and happy school year!

We Can Help

 
For more information about our practice visit our website at https://brittanipershacounseling.com.  If you found this article helpful, click below to subscribe to our newsletter for more information and tools geared towards supporting those on the journey of parenthood.
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By: Melanie Phillips, LCSW @ Brittani Persha Counseling
14760 Memorial Dr., Ste. 107 Houston, TX 77079
 

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