It’s almost fall, which means store shelves are stocked with low-priced notebooks and markers and glue, et al. Soon the familiar brake hiss of school buses will be heard in neighborhoods across the country as kids head back to school.
While some kids begrudge alarm clocks and mountains of homework, they still look forward to school; to enjoying friendships and new activities. Some children, however, have a real fear of going back to school. They worry about potential bullying or even violence at school. Some have trouble coping with social pressure, while others feel overwhelmed at what they will be expected to learn.
If your child is feeling stressed at the thought of going back to school, here are some ways you can help:
Ask Them What’s on Their Mind
Some kids might voluntarily share any worries they have about going back to school, but many won’t. If your child is keeping mum, ask them how they’re feeling about school starting up again.
Older kids and teenagers often shut down when questioned about, well, anything really. So try to make a leading statement like, “Seeing your friends every day will be cool. But I’m guessing there is stuff that you might not be looking forward to…” Then wait for a response.
If they don’t respond, try again the next day. Eventually, they will open up to you, and when they do, the important thing is not to say the exact right thing but to simply listen, show interest and concern, and never judge.
Get Them Involved
To some children, summer means a taste of freedom, of making choices for themselves, while school means little or no autonomy. To help counter this feeling, get your kids involved in decision-making at the very beginning.
Hold a “going back to school” family meeting, and make sure there are no media distractions like smartphones or TV on in the background. Discuss the year ahead, plan and set schedules for meals, homework, sports, school activities, and bedtime. Write these plans down and stick a copy on the fridge.
Talk About Bullying
Kids of all ages worry about bullying, so it’s important to bring up the topic. You could make a simple statement, something like, “Bullying is really common and it’s never OK, nor is it the victim’s fault when it happens. If anything happens to you or you see it happen to someone you know, I want you to tell me about it. We can make a plan together of how to handle it.
Then there are those children who worry about starting school because they have issues with anxiety and depression. These children need help from a professional therapist who can uncover where the issues are coming from and offer tools and resources for coping in the real world.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help.
If your son or daughter spends too much time at home with a glazed look in their eye and the glow of a smartphone in their face, you might want to consider signing them up for school sports. Getting your child off the couch and active will not only bring them...
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child from harm and make sure they grow up healthy and happy. You make sure they wear a bike helmet and knee pads, but if they do take a tumble and break an arm, you immediately seek medical attention....
For many parents, bullying brings up memories of the schoolyard. You may have memories of yourself or a friend being bullied in the classroom or on the school bus. But today, social media has created a whole new realm for bullying, expanding the problem and making it...
Quick! Get Your "Top Tips For Getting the Most Out of Counseling" Cheatsheet!
Like some of what you've seen and want to see more? Sign up for our Mailing List for a free cheat sheet on making the most out of counseling. Our list members also gain access to exclusive specials and announcements, as well as the latest from our Counseling Blog!