Going back to school after a long, lazy summer can be traumatic for many children. Anticipating a new school, a new teacher, or a different set of classmates can trigger anxiety, fear and even depression in children. And some of this anxiety can be seen in physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, problems with sleep, changes in behavior.
So as the holidays are drawing to a close and you gather your school uniforms, don’t forget to equip your child with some tips for easing those fears and managing the transition back to school.
- Talk to your child. Normalize his fears – most kids get nervous at the beginning of the school year. And even the teachers!
- Allow your child to draw his fear. Putting the fear out on paper is better than keeping the fear on the inside. Help your child to talk to this fear, find out what is so scarey and why.
- Talk to his physical symptoms. Describe the symptoms – give them a colour, a shape, a size etc and then help him to imagine making the fear smaller, changing colour etc. Accompany this with some slow, deep breathing.
- Teach your child some breathing techniques, such as slow, deep breathing, balloon breathing or belly breathing.
- Swap roles. Allow your child to be the parent and give advice to the child (you , the parent) on how to manage the going back to school.
- Talk away the unknowns. Unknowns breed anxiety. Give your child as much information as possible to empower him with knowledge and solutions to possible “what ifs”.
- Use hypnosis to help with relaxation, feeling safe and feeling good about oneself.