Anxiety is a fact of life for many children who begin something new. They may feel nervous about meeting new children at a playdate or about learning a new sport or instrument. The beginning of a school year is a prime time for children with anxiety issues to feel distressed, but you as the parent are in a key position to limit this stress considerably.
Inform about Changes
The best way to calm your children down may be to tell them about what new things are going to be happening. While this may seem counterintuitive to some parents, it can actually help children, particularly those with special needs, to acclimate to changes. Many children are much more resilient than you may think.
Meet the Teachers and Tour the School
Children like to know what to expect, especially if they are going to be having a new teacher, a new school or a new classroom this year. Call your school to request a meeting with the teacher before school starts. Take a tour through the school, and show your children where lockers, bathrooms and the cafeteria area. This will help ease them into their first days of school.
Keep Anxieties to Yourself
If you know that your child struggles with new activities, you may be feeling some anxiety yourself. However, your anxiety quickly transfers to your child as he or she feeds off your feelings. Always speak of the new school year in a positive way when you are around your child. When asking your child about school, try to keep your questions in neutral territory.
Give Your Child Time
Every parent wants his or her child to feel at ease and happy immediately. However, most children need some time to ease into the school year. This is particularly important for children with special needs who may struggle with school work or with making friends. Always give your children time to adjust without pressuring them to love school, make friends immediately or get straight A’s.