How to help your child cope with stress from the start of the school year

The beginning of the new school year is an important stage in the lives of many children and their families. And like any important event, for example, it can evoke a variety of emotions, for example:

– joy

sweet little female latin child studying on desk asking for help holding cardboard message looking bored and under stress with a tired face expression in children education and back to school concept isolated on white background

– pleasant excitement from waiting

– happiness

– some excitement

This is all perfectly normal. But if pleasant excitement turns into pronounced stress or anxiety, a difficult situation develops for the whole family. The question arises of how to help the child overcome and feel stable enough.

There are several different reasons why children experience anxiety or stress at the start of the school year.

Entering a new situation.

– Why is this happening?

This is the most common cause of anxiety and is especially common in first graders. Why does this happen? The fact is that, on the one hand, the child expects the beginning of an important and attractive event for him, and on the other hand, there is uncertainty about how everything will go. There is a little confusion. Both children and adults can confuse the manifestations of two different states so similar to each other: pleasant emotional excitement and anxiety.

– What can help?

How to understand what the child is most likely experiencing? Maybe it is Talk to your child in a calm and accepting manner about the upcoming event, his expectations, hopes, fears. This can help determine whether this vague feeling is more related to feelings of anticipation and excitement, or to anxiety. If the child’s experiences tend to be more anxiety and stress, in no case do not shame the child for what he is afraid or worried about. Talk to your child loosely about the school, tell him what awaits him there. Explain that it is normal to have some anxiety. Remember the positive examples of how you yourself prepared for such an important day as a child, how your loved ones supported you.

– What else will improve the situation?

Depends on the age of the child:

If you have a first grader, remember that the attributes of the holiday are especially important for him. Therefore, some time before the event, try to set aside enough free time to choose beautiful clothes, shoes, jewelry and school supplies with your child. If possible, take your time. By immersing yourself in the process, you emphasize its value to you.

With an older child who is not going to school for the first time, discuss with what you would like to return to school, how he thinks what awaits him this year. Discuss with your child what he or she likes about school, and then support it with pleasant purchases for the new school year.

Negative experience of attending school

– Why is this happening?

This reason can be assumed for children who are already familiar with the school. In the past school year or longer, they may have had quarrels, conflicts, learning failures, or other incidents that have left an unpleasant trail. In this case, the child can experience a whole range of unpleasant feelings at the thought of school.

– What can help?

A calm and supportive conversation with your child can also help here. Discuss with him what was difficult for him before, what did not work out? Perhaps he had conflicts at school, academic failure, or a difficult relationship with the teacher? When talking with your child, think about what would be pleasant for you yourself if you were in his place? What words would support you, and what, on the contrary, would reduce your faith in success? If the child is silent, do not press on him. Try to talk to teachers about whether your child is having difficulties in school, or try to remember on your own what difficulties your child may have faced in the past. It is very important not to blame the child for failure. Try to find words of support and demonstrate your willingness to help when needed.

Parental excitement

– Why is this happening?

Often, the perception of the beginning of the school year is an exciting event for parents, because they can view this day or period as a kind of “test” from society and others about how good parents they are and whether their child meets certain “requirements” by coming to school for the first time or again. However, it can be difficult for adults to articulate the cause of such anxiety, even for themselves. This is often due to the childhood experiences of the parents themselves attending school. Parents may recall excessive expectations from others or social pressures put on them during their school years.

– What can help?

It is very important to remember that your experience and that of a child are two different experiences. A child is guided by the reaction of adults who are significant to him when faced with different life situations. That is, when a child sees or hears that the upcoming situation at the beginning of the school year causes fear or negative experiences in adults, the child will most often share these experiences and will not be able to productively engage in the process of learning and assimilating knowledge. It is very important for an adult to stabilize his condition in order to reduce the child’s general anxiety. Remember that school is a place where the child (ideally) should feel good and enjoyable. And if you yourself exude optimism and pleasant expectation, talk to your child about the upcoming event in a positive way, support him in every possible way, this will become a great motivator for him.

Remember that in any case, your main goal is to reduce the level of excessive and uncontrollable anxiety for the child. Conversation and preparation is geared towards just that. It is very important to give your child a sense of confidence that you love him at all times and under all circumstances.