Ready Set School! Ways to Reduce Back to School Anxiety
Can you believe summer is over and the kids are back in school?! The first month can be filled with anxiety by both the kids and the parents. The kids can be anxious about having a new teacher, not having friends in their class, whether or not they are ready for the next grade, etc. Good parents are in tune with their child and could have anxiety wondering about the same issues the child may be facing. They want to know if the teacher will give their child the attention they need, if they will make friends in their class and if they are well prepared for the next grade. Additional worries can be the stress over getting them ready in the morning, making breakfast and lunches, and the evening rush cramming in baths, homework and extracurricular activities. All the tasks and thoughts can be overwhelming.
Parents can help reduce this stress by becoming involved in the school through volunteering in the classroom as well as volunteering through the parent teacher organizations. Yes, throwing in additional responsibilities doesn’t seem like an answer, but think about it! Let’s address 3 of the most common start of the school year anxieties.
Anxiety Number 1 – My child has a new teacher! Will they be nurturing? Will they be too strict? Will they notice if my child needs additional help? Will they understand my child? If these questions sound like your thoughts, read on. What is the best way to get to know someone? Spend more time with them! If you can volunteer for an hour one or two days a week, you have that chance to see how they grade, how they interact with the students, and how your child reacts to the teacher. Yes many parents have two working parents, but would it be possible for you to go in to work an hour or two late once a week? If you stay home and have another little one at home, then swap babysitting duties with another parent that would also like to volunteer in the classroom or at a parent teacher organization function or meeting. The under-aged kids will probably love the time with a new friend.
Anxiety Number 2 – Will my child have friends in the class or have someone to sit with at lunch? If you volunteer in the classroom or at parent teacher organization events, you get to know other parents and their classmates. You can see who your child gravitates towards and meet their parents. As you get to know them, you can coordinate playdates. Some kids prefer one-on-one interaction and the over-stimulating environment may not be the place for them. Some others need a little nudge to make friends. Setting up playdates outside of the classroom can help.
Anxiety Number 3 – Is my child prepared for this new grade? Let’s face it, at some point all parents think their child is a genius. But then reality hits that they may be smart, but there is something in the way of them reaching their full potential. Some kids need a little more hand-holding because they are overstimulated. Some kids need to be taught differently than in a traditional manner. They could learn better through pictures, colors or using other senses. Some kids just need extra motivation. If you volunteer in the classroom, you can compare your child to other students and watch their behavior in the classroom. Observing these will allow you to assess whether or not they are paying attention in class or distracted by their surroundings, struggling with learning, or just need information explained in a way they understand. This setting also gives you a few moments to have conversations with the teacher outside of a structured parent/teacher conference. You can also address issues early on when you still have time to make corrections.
Basically, the more involved you are with your child and their environment, the more successful they will be. When the volunteer sheets come home, don’t throw them in the trash and tell yourself you don’t have time! We all have the same amount of hours in a day, it is how you choose to spend that time that has an impact in the health of your family and its future. Contact your teacher or PTA/PTO/Parent Group today to a make a difference.
Fun Services coordinates fundraising and family fun events for elementary, middle and high schools. If you are planning an event or interested in planning an event at the school, contact us for ideas. https://funservicessocal.com/ 800-300-6380