How to comfort your child during back-to-school season?
It’s that time of year again. The summer is coming to an end and that means it’s time for your kids to head back to school. No matter how old they are, your kids may need a little help feeling that school spirit again. Especially with younger children, your kids may even be anxious about going to school again, or for the first time ever. We all remember our first day of school when we tearfully said goodbye to our parents and started our scholarly journey.
So, to get ready for that first day, be it the first first day or not, here are 5 tips on how you can show your child that school isn’t as scary as it seems.
Be your child’s role model
Your children are always looking to you for answers about a lot of things. If there’s something they don’t understand, they usually know they can head to mom or dad to explain it. Your kids are looking to you even when they aren’t verbally asking. Younger children will mirror how you act. This includes the positive and the negative. For example, they may mirror how you sit in a chair, but also mirror how you act when frustrated. The solution? It isn’t to hide your emotions from your children but rather show them how to deal with these emotions by doing so with your own.
What you can try is to follow the rules you set forward for your children. This means eating healthy as you want them to and going to bed at the right time so you get enough sleep. If your child sees you doing these things, they will understand it as how things can be accomplished.
When it comes to stress, or anxiety, with school, you can talk to your kids about it. If they seem clingy or withdrawn, they could be feeling anxious. This lets them know it’s safe to share these fears with you. Plus, you can share too. You can tell the story of your first day at school. While you may have cried or been scared, you found out you were ok.
Letting them know how things may happen like this can make that unknown environment less so. Not to mention, you won’t always be next to them, especially at school. Therefore, knowing a teacher is safe to speak to about their fears can really help a child become more comfortable with school much quicker.
Give them a way to visually relax
The way a child relaxes after a long day varies. Every child is unique, after all. Overall, though, children like to touch and to see pretty much everything. It’s that curiosity about the world around them. This can be a great outlet to get their minds off school if it becomes overwhelming. This also shows them ways they can cope with that stress their entire life.
Some examples of how to help your kids unwind are really varied. Sometimes, coloring in a coloring book in whatever way they want to helps a child to relax. With this, it can help to make them part of the process when you buy coloring supplies. Let them follow their creative dreams (within reason, of course!).
That way, they’ll feel more in charge and responsible, in a way. Feeling responsible for why you become relaxed is a great comfort. It gives your child the support of knowing they can always relax when they get too frustrated down the road.
Some children may be into crafting things, no matter what kind. Maybe your child likes to really play with their hands. There is always the option of clay they can shape into whatever their imagination can make. This is a really tactile way of working out stress without even realizing it.
With these activities, it may help to do them alongside your child. That shows them that you are a role model they can look up to. Plus, you’re giving them all that natural attention and affection they crave by spending time with them. There’s nothing like relaxing with a parent who loves you to help your child take their mind off school stress.
Your kids may seem to have unlimited energy at times. There’s a reason for that! Studies have shown that exercise can literally make your mood better. The scientific reason behind this is the release of something called endorphins in your brain. These endorphins make you feel good. With things like depression, people are often told that exercising can help set their mood to be better than usual. This is the truth for everyone, so exercise really is a great way to get your kids feeling better.
If you notice that your child has an interest in any specific exercise or even sports, you should encourage this. Maybe your child likes to play with jump ropes more than anything or loves riding their bike. Give them the opportunity whenever you can to follow those natural urges to burn off energy, not to mention stress.
To set this behavior up as something your children can use in the future to cope, talk to them about it. This can be a simple as asking if they feel better after letting all that energy out. Thus, your children will start thinking about that to themselves when they’re playing. They will start to notice the changes and associate that exercise with the brighter mood they have afterward.
A great way to show your kids that exercise is good is with sports. If your child has an interest in playing a sport, you should encourage them to find out ways they can play. This could mean a sports team at school. While they could be anxious about joining at first, you can explain to them how to join a sports team, or what being on one is like.
That way, they have a better idea of what’s coming and aren’t anxious about what to do. Another great thing to mention is how they get to play with their friends at school! This can be a great way to get an otherwise motivated child to deal with their anxiety. They will feel more comfortable thanks to the fact that they know the people they’re playing with, after all.
An enriching after-school program can be the perfect solution for your anxious children. It can also help you, especially if you’re a parent with a busy job. You want to make sure your child is with people who will continue to support and nurture them. While the after-school programs your child can go to will depend on their school, they can open a world of possibilities for them.
For example, take a look at the Wellspring Children’s Academy in Houston, Texas. Places like this offer fun programs for your kids to go to before and after school. With Wellspring’s program, your children can keep learning but relax while doing so. Basically, it won’t feel like going from one school to another, which can be exhausting. Instead, it’s a stimulating new environment for learning where they can focus on interests that may not be covered at school. Wellspring, like other programs, offers a range of topics.
These are anything from science to music, or technology to reading. What your child is interested in is the priority here. Forcing them to participate in something they don’t like will cause them to form a negative emotion with that activity. Also, when following what interests excite them, you encourage them to not ignore those interests even if the school doesn’t cover them. They’re just as important as the classes they take during the day!
Alongside learning new things, programs like Wellspring can offer assistance with their homework. Very often, homework can make your child feel stressed. A great way to relieve that stress is by showing them help is available.
Knowing that a teacher or an adult at school or after-school program can help shows them it isn’t bad to ask for that help. This way, your child can get some guidance on a topic they aren’t understanding so that they can find a way that makes understanding it easier for them.
This is most likely the most obvious thing on this list, but it’s almost one of the most important ones. Naturally, you love your children and you show it. How you do this and how often can have a pretty big impact on a child’s understanding of their support system.
This is where bribes come in. While it may work at the time, giving your child candy, for example, for doing their homework won’t work in the long run. Don’t think of this as trying to convince your child of something they don’t believe. Instead, gently guide them through their own thoughts. That way, your kids will grow up to be able to do this on their own as adults.
So, instead of bribes? Pile on the words of encouragement and give plenty of hugs whenever your child does something, especially something they have pride in. Knowing you’re proud of them too is a great boost to their happiness. Don’t pretend that everything is perfect, though. Everyone can and will make a mistake.
Rather, give any encouragement genuinely. You don’t have to be stern with your child if they make mistakes, too. Punishment, be it angrily talking to your child or otherwise, will only give them anxiety over these mistakes. It has even been shown that your child could feel uneasy about asking for help when doing anything they’re unsure of.
Essentially, you want your children to know that making a mistake is ok as long as they take responsibility for how they can fix it. As always, asking for help is a big thing to nurture in your child regarding this.
Nurture your child’s happiness
In the end, there are a lot of ways you can guide your child through the rough waters of the back to school season. Show them that they will always have your support. Additionally, show them the support they can find when they’re not with you at school. Making a child feel comfortable is one of the first steps to making back to school season cause less anxiety.
Plus, when it’s time to relax, give them the option to discover what helps them best. Be it reading, coloring, playing, or otherwise, let them know they can relax. Have those moments to just be happy can really make the pressure of school easier to handle. School is and can be something your child is excited about. They can get through the day with school, but with your help, they can gain so much more from their day and be happy while doing it.