For most children in the LOU area school has begun or will begin soon. With that can come some fear, stress or anxiety. Here are four tips from licensed psychologist Matthew W. Campbell, Ph.D. in Oxford that can help children overcome back to school jitters.
1. Talk about it: Normalize the experience. First day of school nerves have been around as long as schools have existed. Empathize with the feeling, while also reassuring them that this is something normal and doesn’t mean it will be an awful school year. As parents, remember that the great majority of these feelings are anticipatory and resolve once they get accustomed to their class.
2. Focus on positives: While nerves lead us to negative “what if’s,” focus on some aspects of school and being with classmates that can be looked forward to and/or have been enjoyed in the past. Perhaps even encouraging your child to count how many friends, nice comments, or smiles they see can change the focus to the positive.
3. Pay attention if these are social or academic conerns: If social concerns are triggering your child’s nerves, try to give them an opportunity to connect with classmate(s) before classes begin or soon after. A playdate or joining after school activities peers are in can help. If academic concerns are triggering nerves, speak with the teacher and explain to your child how you will address problems – if they arise.
4. Look forward: Sometimes having a plan for a fun after-school activity can help the child have something to look forward to … and can be helpful in getting those who are resistant to let go of Mom or Dad and get into the classroom.
hottytoddy.com staff report with Matthew Campbell, Ph.D. contributing