How To Help Your Child Deal With Anxiety Of Starting A New School Year

The stress for some children starting a new school year can be impossibly overwhelming for many reasons.  Maybe they are starting a new school, maybe they are going into a serious exam year, maybe they have struggled in their school previously and the thought of going back brings back difficult memories etc...

Whatever the reason, I have researched and spoken to some professionals about how to help your child prepare emotionally for the beginning of the new school year.

Listen - When your child shares a worry, sometimes they need you to hear them more than they need you to make the problem go away.  

Let them know its ok to worry - Its easy for kids to feel like everyone else is doing great and they are the only one struggling (especially with blooming social media)

Make a plan - Think of ways your child can respond to a worry coming true. For instance, if they are worried about turning up to registration late. What they can do to make sure they leave enough time to get from home to school. If they miss the school bus, who they can call etc.

Practice calming techniques - I know I bang on about this all the time but it really is important! Teach your child to take slow, deep breaths in stressful situations.  It is also effective to notice what you can hear, feel, taste and touch whilst taking deep breaths to quiet the nervous system.  This can be done anywhere.  At home in the evenings or before school or find a quiet place at school like the library. Talk about speaking to an adult at school if they are feeling overwhelmed. (I also think sitting and going through calming techniques with your child can be very bonding and strengthening for you both)

Remind them they have got this! - Think of other times your child has faced their fears and conquered.  Even a reminder of the littlest historical win can show them they are strong and resilient.  With the right tools ready to go they can do this!

Support yourself as well - As per my previous blog (Did you suffer back to school sadness?), staying calm at this time of year is easier said than done, I know, but your child takes their cues from you so as hard as it can be at times, be a calm, steady presence.  Lean on friends and family if you need support and are feeling overwhelmed. 

I hope this helps a little bit and sending so much love and strength to you all for the new school year.