After months of being in the safe walls of home and family, it’s common for children of all ages to experience feelings of anxiety when the talk of back-to-school begins, but there are things moms can do to help with the anxiety of transition.
Below are a few tips to help emotionally prepare your child for back-to-school (be sure to read the last tip to find out about and take advantage of today’s special giveaway!) :
* If mommy is anxious about her child going to school, the child will probably pick up on this. Anxiety about change is highly contagious to children, so even if we are secretly wanting to hide our child our home rather than letting them embark upon the big ugly world of kindergarten, middle school, or high school, it’s important to keep our own anxiety in check. Asking God for peace about all these new transitions is a great way to calm anxiety.
* Highlight the things that will make the new transition or new school sound appealing and exciting. Rather than feeding into your child’s anxieties, help him/her make a list of all the good things about their new school, new teachers, new opportunities, new friends, etc. Help them switch their focus from the scary things, to all the good things. A positive attitude is as contagious as an anxious one.
* Make time to visit the school or new classroom before school starts, even if means taking some time off of work. Seeing a new environment ahead of time always eases the nerves.
* Remind your child they’re not the only who is nervous. Reassure them be telling your child how all kids are nervous when they start something new, and even the teachers might feel a little nervous too! Explain that the teacher will do special and fun activities to help students feel at home and to help them get to know each other and reduce their nervousness. Talk about what you could do for the teacher to help them with their nervousness, and your child can begin focusing on loving on his new teacher instead of worrying about all the “what-ifs”.
* Talk about when you were in school (around their age), your favorite teachers, the fun activities you enjoyed, your favorite arts and crafts projects, etc. Kids love to hear stories about their parent’s childhoods because it helps them relate better. And sometimes, these stories open the door for their own fears and concerns and excitement to be discussed.
* Discuss the traits of real friends and the importance of true friendships. Help your child know how to be a good friend, and encourage them love and kindness helps attract good friends. Talk about the benefits of making new friends and seeing old friends, and help them focus on all the positives instead of their fears.
* Make a list of all the traits and special characteristics you love about your child. Review this list with them and help build their self esteem and their confidence. Knowing how much they are loved and adored will help them learn to be strong in the face of judgement or criticism from fellow students.
* Facilitate a Q&A session with your child. Ask them what concerns they have about the new school, like “what if none of my friends are in my lunch period” or “what if nobody wants to play with me at recess” or “what if I can’t see the board from where I sit”. Together, come up with some positive solutions or ways to handle the situations if they arise. Being prepared to face their fears goes a long way in helping avoid anxiety now and later.
* Think of ways to help your child know you are thinking about them while they are at school. One week last year, my teenage daughter was having a hard time at school for various reasons. As I gave her a hug one morning before she left for school, I took a pen and drew a little heart on the back of her hand. I said “Sweetie, each time you see this heart today, let it remind you how much I love you, how proud I am of you, and what an amazing young lady I think you are.”. She smiled and went off to school. Later that day, she texted me a picture of the little drawn heart on her hand, with a smiley face emogee. She remembered what I had told her that morning, and it had made her smile, and helped her get through the day.
* Print up some simple bible verses, encouraging phrases or “love notes” to put in your child’s lunchbox or bookbag each day, or every other day, for the first couple weeks of school. You can also handwrite them to make them even more personal and appropriate to what your child might be going through. I have been putting “love notes” and scripture in my children’s lunchboxes and bookbags for 14 years, and each one has been appreciated and served a special purpose. It’s a good idea to choose verses that will specifically encourage a child in something they are facing, but most importantly, the simple gesture of a “love note” can help their hearts and minds be strong as they face the challenges of school. After the newness of school wears off, try to send little surprise notes throughout the school year, especially on the hardest of days.
Today’s summer giveaway is a little different, because instead of it going to just one winner, it’s for everyone!
Click below for a free downloadable printable of “love notes” and scripture verses to sneak into your child’s school belongings throughout the school year to help them remember they are loved, treasured, appreciated and prayed for.
Also – Check out my Pinterest page with more downloadable love notes ideas, with fun pictures and colors!