It’s back-to-school time – and even though this isn’t my first rodeo, as some say – it can create tension and uneasiness for everyone. Adjusting from summer to the routine of the school year can bring some unknowns (especially if you have a child starting a new school, kindergarten, or transitioning to a new program as these are pivotal times).
When kids experience uneasiness about going back to school, it can have an effect on parents as well. It seems like there’s nothing you can do, and the closer the first day of school gets, the more miserable parents and kids feel. Some practical tips on how to ease this apprehension, though, can help alleviate the back-to-school fears. Here are some ideas that we’ve put into action in our home.
1. Try to Understand
Maybe you didn’t ever suffer from this kind of anxiety as a child; or maybe you did, but you still just want your child to get over it. It can be hard to be sympathetic if you did not experience this type of uneasiness, but compassion is what your child seeks.
Psychologists recommend a bit of understanding – while the uneasiness should not be “calling the shots,” the fact that your child is feeling very real fear should be respected. Your child needs some coping mechanisms, and that means you need to address the fear rather than denying it.
2. Put Things in Perspective
School can seem big and scary to a child. Psychologists recommend “putting the fear in its place” – identify the fear and give your child power over it. Use Scripture to help guide your child and help their fear.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Phil 4:13
Tell your child to repeat this verse in times of struggle – perhaps you can write it out on a note card and place it in their backpack? Look for scripture jewelry to give real physical presence to a verse and allow them to wear it to school.
3. Know Your Teacher
It can make all the difference if your child knows their teacher. Try to set up more than one meeting with the teacher before the school year starts, so your child will be going to see a familiar face. Take a tour or two of the school and the new classroom, too. It is great to find some new friends before that first day as well.
4. Be Confident
Sometimes, parents can inadvertently “feed” their child’s uneasiness. If you are anxious about your child’s anxiety, it can make the situation worse. Try to be confident in your child’s ability to make it through the school day. While understanding your child’s feelings is important, inflating them is not. Let your child know she can do it by being confident and decisive in leaving her.
5. Saying Goodbye
Some experts recommend a “goodbye ritual” to help ease transitions back into school. This can help a child feel more secure – if you say goodbye the same way every day, then perhaps your child will be more confident that you will return the same way, too.
Try coming up with something unique to your relationship with your child – a special handshake, phrase, or promise for later in the day (just make sure you follow through on any promise).
6. Natural Courage Support
We love using natural alternatives in our home, all plant-based. A few of our favorite essential oils that help to promote confidence and courage are:
Valor – We love this one for balance and empowering confidence. We often will diffuse this one in the morning before school and then apply topically to wrists or the back of the neck before my son goes out the door. Valor II is a version available now, but watch for the original to be back really soon! He also wears a leather necklace that we can apply it to, so he can smell the aroma during the day.
Peace and Calming – This is another great one. Right now we have Peace & Calming II, another version which can help ease uneasiness in all kinds of situations. Another favorite in the diffuser!
Stress Away – This one is best for the whole family, but really great for moms! I love using the Stress Away roll-on to apply to my wrists. Its wonderful vanilla and lime scent is crazy good for calming me down.
Here’s to a great first few months of school!
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