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Home Issues 2018 - Fall Edition Five Simple Tips to Manage Back to School Anxiety

Five Simple Tips to Manage Back to School Anxiety

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Going back to school after summer’s freedom can be tough for some children, sometimes leading to tears, outbursts, difficulty in transitions and other signs of anxiety. If this has been your experience as a parent or caregiver, that’s okay! Having a level of back to school anxiety is normal for most kids. Here are five practical tips for caregivers on how to support your child with anxiety. 

1. Start with the basics.
It begins by making sure your child is eating right and sleeping well. When children feel anxious, they sometimes lose appetite or don’t get enough sleep. Create a schedule to provide frequent nutritious snacks and having a well-established morning and bedtime routine can support their emotional well-being.

2. Listen to your child and normalize their fears.
Provide a regular time and place for them to share what is on their mind (before bed, during mealtime) and normalize their worries by letting them know that everyone feels nervous when starting something new. Perhaps this could be a perfect chance for you to share a time when you were a child and worried about returning to school! Remember to empathize and validate their feelings.

3. Role-play and problem solve!
It may be natural for us to give the response, “Don’t worry!” or “It’ll be great!”, but rather than reassuring, allowing them a chance to problem solve if *fill in the blank* happens can equip your child and provide them with an opportunity to cope with challenging situations. Ask your child what their worries are and give them the chance to role-play the scenario by being the mean classmate or the strict teacher. Model appropriate responses and coping strategies for your child, and allow your child to ask questions, practice and feel confident if a similar situation occurred.

4. Focus on the positive.
Although it’s crucial to always listen to your child and validate their feelings, it’s also important to discuss some of the experiences they’re looking forward to. Normally kids are able to find positive aspects of school which can help reduce some of their fears. It may also be important to engage your kids in some of the positive experiences like giving them the opportunity to choose their favourite snacks to eat.

5. Model confidence and comfort.
More than we know, children are very attuned and sensitive to your feelings as a caregiver or parent, picking up on the anxiety that you may be feeling. Although this may be an anxiety-provoking experience for you as well, the more confidence and comfort you portray, your child will be able to pick up on that too. Be supportive, cheerful yet firm!

If you feel that your child’s anxiety is concerning and beyond what you might normally expect and are interested in whether Art Therapy could a potential support for your child, feel free to contact us via admin@artastherapy.ca or 905 .783.5939. For more resources visits www.artastherapy.ca

Susana Medeiros
Susana Medeiroshttps://familymattersmagazine.ca
Married almost 25 years and mother of three, Susana is passionate about family, community, and small business. After a very difficult life-stage, she was forced to re-invent herself, personally and professionally. Family Matters Magazine was part of an effort to combine all of her passions into a new career/business opportunity. Susana strives to balance family and work to the best of her ability. Although her children are grown, she still puts focus on daily home-cooked meals and family dinners at the table, almost every night. Being at a later stage of parenthood, she is learning to take more time to explore her own interests and is enjoying more time with her husband as their children become more independent. Professionally, Susana has partnered up in various community projects including The Mom Show. She enjoys encouraging mothers to recognize their potential, as women, outside of motherhood. Ninjamom is personal project that is in it's early stages. It is a movement to empower mothers to practice self-love and self-care without the guilt. Susana has over 25 years of marketing, advertising and sales experience. She works diligently to promote clients in their community both organically and through the online and print publication of Family Matters Magazine.

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