Going back to school can be stressful for some children. There can be many anxieties about it for both you and your little one.
Sometimes it is worth taking a step back and seeing if these anxieties are your anxieties or your child’s. Perhaps you found school difficult and that emotional baggage you carry around has left a lasting impact on how you perceive the school experience for your little one.
Children are resilient and adaptable and the easily forget. Some parent may over worry that an issue that their little one faced last year may raise its ugly head this year too. But this is not necessarily the case.
If your child had difficulty with a subject or another student, you may worry that it will affect them similarly this year, but this very well may not be the case. However, even the mention of it could bring back feelings of fear or anxiety in you that your child has already forgotten about.
So how can I help my child?
Sort out your own issues
There is no shame in going to counselling. It takes a strong and brave person to face their issues and try to move on in a positive way.
If you do have a negative memory of school or anxieties that you feel you may pass onto your child, going to see a therapist will really help both of you.
Don’t magnify a worry
If your child comes to you with a worry, deal with it in a calm and steady manner. Getting worked up or anxious yourself is only going to magnify your child’s worry. If they feel their parent’s angst, it will only personify their worry and validate that there is a threat present.
Ask and listen
If you are worried about your child going back to school or you are worried that they are worried, ask them. Children are usually brutally honest, and you can be assured that if they are anxious, you will sense it.
If they share a worry with you, listen to them and validate it. Ask them questions specifically about what they are worried about and talk through each worry. Never try to gloss over anxiety with a reply like “You’re fine!” That will never rid your child of their worries, it will only make them feel like they are not heard.
Look after you
Practising self-care is essential to your children. Yes, you read that correctly. Self-care for some can feel selfish. But, by practising self-care and looking after your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being, you are equipping yourself to deal with any problems your child may be having.
What looking after your mental well-being does is help you separate yourself from the situation and separate your feelings from your child’s. It helps you to form an independent and clear mental state when it comes to your child and their anxieties. Practicing regular self-care is vital as a parent for both you and your little ones.