This time of year right now, a lot of youngsters are either getting in gear for their very first day or school or have possibly already started schooling! Whether the first day is around the corner or your little one is already a little ways into their school year by this point, one thing is for certain, anxiety is REAL! The anxious, unsure feeling that stems from beginning school is something that affects your little ones, you as a parent, and the relationship between you and your children. Today, we’re going to dive into some ways to combat that anxiety so you can all face the school year as best as possible!
As a parent, you feel most comfortable when you are in control of the circumstances surrounding your children. This, without a doubt, will make it hard to give up some of that control as you send your child to school for the better part of the day, every day. Since you will have a hard time controlling what goes on during the school hours, the best thing you can do is a two-prong approach of proactivity and reactivity. Let’s talk about that.
As you’re preparing for the first day of school, or for any single day of school for that matter, taking a proactive approach in instilling the right values and information in your child will prove highly effective! Taking the time out ahead of that first day, or before any given day, to excite your child for upcoming friend-making and learning, as well as prepping with some practice in these fields ahead of time, will help them view the overall schooling experience as one to look forward to and enjoy. This will render them more engaged and successful, relieving you of some of that anxiety.
Proactivity Measure #1:
Find out if classroom rosters are available before the start of the school year. In doing this, you can try to connect with other parents and get play dates arranged, that way your little one at least feels comfortable with a few of the other kids in his or her class even before the first day of school. If the school year is already underway, all the same, get those play dates going!
Proactivity Measure #2:
Inquire in advance as to what some of the in class lessons will be, and see how you can begin to introduce those ideas to your child ahead of time. Being in a classroom after becoming accustomed to being home and around family for all this time can be daunting, and having some level of familiarity with what is happening in the classroom will be beneficial!
Remember that old commercial with the pitch “set it and forget it”… well shaping your child doesn’t quite work this way. While the proactive measures will be helpful in setting the ground work for how your child feels in the school setting, maintaining that level of comfort in the learning space will only be achieved by reacting accordingly to how they are doing in school based on that initial direction they were given by you.
Reactivity Measure #1:
Talk to your kid about their day. Simple as that. Create a warm environment with them, where talking about the intricate details of the day is welcome! Since you can’t necessarily be with them in the classroom all day, you might as well get to know what goes on during their time away at school. This will also help you be reactive in the event that there is something your kiddo is having a difficult time with in school.
Reactivity Measure #2:
Although homework may not exactly be a part of the picture in a lot of introductory schools, there may be some activities to take home and work on. Be a part of that process, wherever possible. It will help you to see how your child is grasping what they are being taught, and help you instill those ideas even further.
Reactivity Measure #3:
Another great way to do this is a method that Dreamtown Kids has actually mentioned once before, but it’s worth reiterating. That is to develop a great rapport with your youngster’s teacher or teachers to see the day-to-day and long-term progress that you kiddo is having socially and fundamentally. Establish a relationship and engagement with those who are helping educate your child, and you all can work as a team to achieve that.
While you, as a parent, view this transitional period one way, your child sees it in a totally different scope. It’s been a while since we’ve had our first school days, and it can show by the way we forget just how it feels and what helps in navigating the situation.
While the above mentioned ways to alleviate anxiety work well for parents, children don’t approach this anxiety in the overly-analytical way that us adults have to. They aren’t inconvenienced with such complexities, and they simply feel what they feel. The one thing that will help them overcome any anxious feelings — parental support, you doing what you can do to make the process as comfortable and rewarding for them as possible. And if you look to the aforementioned methods, everything will go superbly!
In conclusion, the first day or school or the first period of school for your little one can make for a lot of anxiety on your child’s part and your part alike. Doing whatever you and you child can do to make the transition as smooth as possible will be a big win, and starting with the tips listed here will make for a great foundation! To find out more ways to transition your child into their first school experience, look no further than the pros at Dreamtown Kids.