Going back to school can be exciting for most children, but it can also bring feelings of anxiety. This is completely normal, even for children who typically thrive in social situations. Anxious feelings are normal and are an expected response to transition or change. However, this doesn’t mean that you or your child has to suffer. That is why as your trusted choice for therapy in the Hermosa Beach area, it’s my goal to help your children overcome any barriers that may be causing disruptive behavior and preventing your child from reaching his or her full potential. In working with children struggling with anxiety, I have found that building a foundation of optimal coping methods for both the child and their family, can provide positive results.
The first step to learning how to cope with anxiety is identifying it. Everyone deals with anxiety on occasion, so determining if your child’s anxiety should be of concern can be difficult. Your child might be suffering from anxiety if they exhibit any of the following:
Though your child may be going through a difficult phase, it’s important for them to go to school. There are several ways to help your child cope with their school related anxiety, such as:
Taking Care Of The Basics: It’s hard for anyone to relax when other factors, like hunger or exhaustion, come into play. That is why at my South Bay therapy practice I encourage parents to first ensure their child’s needs are met before anything else. Develop a regular bedtime and prep lunch or snacks for them to help ensure your child is well rested and well fed. This in itself can help reduce anxiety by eliminating unnecessary stressors in their lives.
Encourage Communication: Sometimes simply hearing your child out can help relieve their anxiety as well. Encourage them to vent their worries to you, and give them your undivided attention in a private space. This can help distract and dissipate their stress as well.
Develop A Plan: Rather than reassure your child that everything will be ok, try to help them find a solution to their concerns. Communicate with them and figure out what they are worried about. Then discuss the different scenarios that their worries could play out and what they could do in each situation. You can even role play and act out scenarios to help boost your child’s confidence that they can handle whatever comes at them. This will help alleviate their stress by making them feel prepared and offering a solution, even when it may not ultimately be needed.
Work On Being Positive: Encourage your child to think positively and not dwell on negative thoughts. Whether it’s simply asking them what they are most excited for that day or to recall a pleasant memory, it can help override negative feelings.
Prepare In Advance: Sometimes developing a routine before it is needed can help your child feel more calm. So before the school season starts, begin waking up earlier, plan lunches, purchase school supplies, and practice coping skills for when your child feels overwhelmed. You may even practice going to school before it starts, or take a tour if your child is a new student at the school.
If your child struggles with back to school anxiety, make an appointment at my Hermosa Beach, CA private practice today. The therapists who work in my practice care about your children, and want to provide you with the help you and your family may need. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. I hope to hear from you soon!