Helping Kids Overcome School Anxiety
Parents aren't the only ones struggling with nervous and excited feelings. When children change schools or start kindergarten, fear of the unknown is a main concern. Parents are tasked with easing those concerns without projecting their own worries onto their young scholars. Without making too big a deal about the big day—which may only make kids more nervous—there are a few ways to help kids who are anxious about school.
Read Together1 of 6
For younger kids, there are tons of books about starting kindergarten. For anxious children, they'll be able to identify with main characters that are going through similar experiences. For kids who have recently moved, or older kids heading off to middle school or high school, ask your local librarian for both fiction and nonfiction books on the topic. Then check out two copies so you and your child can read and discuss.
Play School2 of 6
For children beginning kindergarten, playing school is an excellent way to help them get a feel for what their day will look like before the first day of school. If there are older children in the house, enlist them to play. Offer insights such as: "First you'll come in and put your bag in a cubby or on a hook," "Sometimes you'll sit on the rug in a circle." "We stand quietly when in line," and "Now let's color."
Ask Questions3 of 6
If your child seems anxious, ask questions without hinting at your own concerns. For example, don't ask, "Are you worried about school?" A better way to ask is by saying something like, "How are you feeling about school?" Younger kids may want to draw pictures of themselves at school or on the bus.
Have Fun With Back-to-School Shopping4 of 6
Picking out a new backpack and lunch box will make your child excited about school, and new clothes and shoes make everyone feel better (or at least moms). My kids' school provides all classroom supplies, but we still purchase some for home and to donate, because who can resist the lure of fresh crayons, notebooks and pencils?
Go on a Scouting Mission5 of 6
If possible, visit your child's new classroom or school before the first day. Getting a look at the place they'll be spending their time can go a long way toward easing first day jitters and visiting before school starts will provide that first look in a calm, quiet atmosphere. Even visiting and playing on the school playground is a great way to get kids excited about school.