Starting at a new school is not always easy. All students want to fit in, make friends, and adjust to the new environment seamlessly. Many children tend to be anxious when they are about to explore new environments which may lead to anxiety.
It is usually characterized by fear and worry. That feeling can make a child irritable. It can also lead to separation anxiety, phobias, panic disorders, and social anxiety if parents don’t take charge. But what happens if your child suffers from anxiety?
A child with anxiety will most likely have difficulty going to a new school and actually dread it. Therefore, parents need to ensure that they pay extra attention to a child who suffers from anxiety when the environment changes. But now the question arises, how can a parent help their child?
The article will discuss in-depth seven vital ways on how you can help your child deal with anxiety.
1. Understand Your Child Better
Anticipatory anxiety is common in children who are about to start at a new school. It usually happens a few days or weeks after opening day. With the knowledge that children suffer from anxiety, their parents should understand their situation and help them.
Many children can suffer in silence, if you, as a parent, don’t take charge. Understanding your child should be a priority so that you can help them in dealing with anxiety.
As a parent, you must show understanding, care, encouragement towards your child. It is often without criticizing or judging them. In turn, the child feels safe and appreciated despite her tense situation.
2. Do a Test Run
If possible, a parent who anticipates their child might have a hard time should be encouraged to do a test run together with their child. It usually involves visiting the new school before school opens. Ensure you take the child around the school to familiarize himself with the school before joining the rest of the children.
With this, the child can get accustomed beforehand and feel for their class, cafeteria, offices, library, etc. If possible, it is also advisable that a parent organize the child to meet with their teacher to get acquainted.
By doing so, a child will not be bombarded with first-day anxieties trying to find their way around and alleviate their fears and worries. A test run can be very beneficial to your child so that you can help him deal with anxiety even as he joins a new school in a new environment.
3. Encourage Your Children to Learn More
Apart from doing a test run, parents can also encourage their children to be open-minded and show them that a new start is not always bad. This way, the child will be encouraged to introduce themselves and make new friends and create relationships.
The parent’s encouragement is essential as it will put the child at ease and ensure they are more comfortable in their new school. Parents can also encourage their child by talking about the new school as often and even looking it up online to learn more and explain what to expect.
This way, the child is already prepared before they get to school. A parent can also track down children who go to the new school and form connections with their parents.
This connection creates familiarity, which helps deal with anxiety. It helps them a great deal, and you can be sure that he will be safe from anxiety.
4. Letting Someone Know
If a child suffers from chronic anxieties or attacks, the parent should let someone at the school know. Involving a class teacher, headteacher, or guidance counselor will ensure that your child is well-taken care of and has someone to look out for them.
When a hand-off is required, especially for younger children with separation anxiety, they need to work together to enable the child to have a smooth transition.
Moreover, as a parent you will also feel safe when your child is at school, knowing that he is in safe hands. No one would want to see their child not well taken care of, whether at school or at home. That is why it is vital to let someone know about your child’s anxiety attacks, if any, to ensure safety.
5. Creating an Anxiety Plan
An anxiety plan will come in handy for the child as they start their new school. With the class teacher’s involvement, parents are advised to create an anxiety plan with their child every time they feel anxious. What does the anxiety plan entail?
This plan will ensure the child can practice different strategies to help combat anxiety. These strategies often include breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, or objects like stress balls to calm down.
This plan is useful and will help the child to relax whenever they feel an anxiety attack coming on. Having this plan is vital so that you can be prepared if an anxiety attack occurs.
6. Ensure Your Child Doesn’t Have an Overloaded Schedule
Many parents want their children to thrive and have a full schedule of activities during the day. It involves school work, sports, or any other extra-curricular activities.
But a parent with a child suffering from anxiety should be cautious of how much their child can do. As a parent, what step can you take to ensure no schedule overload?
The parent should sit with their child’s teacher and ensure they are doing enough but not too much as it may trigger more anxiety due to the responsibilities bestowed to them. As the child becomes accustomed to their new school and shows signs of relaxing, they may be encouraged to participate in other activities.
In this case, the teachers will play a significant role in your child as he adapts to the new school with various activities. It is only right to let them know everything concerning your child’s health so that they can be cautious.
7. Being Aware of Physical Symptoms
When a child with anxiety gets familiar with their new environment, things become easier for them. But when they start having physical symptoms like headaches and stomach aches, then a parent should pay extra attention and find out the reason behind it.
Often, children who portray physical symptoms that do not go away have another underlying issue. Therefore, parents should take their child for specialized attention to find out what the problem might be.
During this time, a child might refuse to go to school, but a parent is urged to resist the need to let them stay home. Instead, they should continue to send them to school and avoid teaching their child to evade situations that make them anxious as it will only make the situation worse.
It has always not easy to let your child go to school reluctantly, more so when crying. It shows how much he doesn’t want to leave for school. But again, this should not demotivate you at all. Instead, keep encouraging him to go to school and try and tell him the importance.
When a child continues to have physical symptoms, it might be that they have various problems like OCD, which they cannot handle in school. The child might be getting bullied in school or have chronic separation anxiety that might lead to concentration issues.
They might also have an undiagnosed learning disorder like ADHD, making them feel shame and embarrassment. This disorder is common in children and you must know about ADHD parenting tips for school-going children in-depth for better understanding.
All in all, parents should be aware of their child’s anxiety and help them maneuver as they start in their new school. Words of encouragement, helpful strategies, and plans go a long way in helping a child with anxiety cope better.
It is vital to have everything in place when you want to help your child deal with anxiety. As you know, children are very important in a family, thus should be a priority in terms of well-being.
Talking to your child will also help them in a positive manner. Encouraging your child to talk about their worries and fears will help you learn how best to handle the situation.
Assure them that it is normal to feel that way and show them there are ways to deal with the anxiety. As a parent, you can play a significant role in helping your child feel accommodated no matter the circumstances.
With that, an anxious child will have the tools and capacity to go to their new school prepared. Being aware of their surroundings can help them in understanding how to deal with different situations in the new school.
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Anupriya is the SEO Strategist and a founder of Parenting Square, an online resource that provides information about parenting. Being a mom of a little girl, inspires her to write and share information on parenting. She is an active member of the Circle Of Moms and Mom Summit.