Starting school is always a bit nerve-wracking, but for kids it may be hard to express those feelings clearly. As people grow older they tend to forget the concerns and fears that they had as a kid starting school, but it is important to validate and listen to them. Adults tend to forget what it was like starting school and can minimize their children’s feelings, which is something you want to avoid. Here are some things you need to remember to talk about with your child prior to school starting.
Talking is Important
Prior to the first day of classes, talking with your child about how their feeling is important. Sharing your experiences and connecting on their level will help ease their fears and will build trust. Just knowing that someone you respect has had similar feelings can ease many fears. If you know what they are afraid of, try and connect it back to an experience you’ve had, while being careful not to make the conversation about you. If they are nervous about dealing with problems, reassure them that you will be there to help them. Knowing that your family will be there for you is important for courage when starting something new.
Listen to Their Concerns
Sometimes the best thing to do is simply just listening. Asking your child if they have any concerns about school is the best way to figure out if they’re nervous about anything. By just talking you can help alleviate any fears they might have. It’s important for a child to know that their parent’s are there for them and are willing to listen. We can get in the habit of problem solving, but the time spent just listening is far more valuable in the end. It builds trust and helps them fear heard and validated.
If you feel like you need to be proactive to help your child be less anxious, there are plenty of simple things you can do. Kids don’t have the full picture, so sharing details with them can make them feel included and will prepare them for what to expect. Providing them with information on what their schedule looks like and what classes they will be taking can even excite them. Pointing out the positives of school is important, too. School should be a place that kids enjoy, so try encouraging your child to be active in school by finding some extracurricular activities that they may want to join.
As parents, it’s easy to want to immediately jump into action and find solutions, but there is something to be said for simply being there. Emotional support in a time of anxiety can help tremendously. Every person is different, so simply just asking what they need and what their fears are will help guide you on what to do. Starting school can be overwhelming because there are a lot of new things happening, but with proper preparation, the year can run smoothly and be a good experience for them.