The beginning of the new school year is a common time for kids and parents to experience anxiety. The parents are anxious that kids will be happy and thrive in their new grade, new school, with new friends, etc... Kids are anxious about all of the unknowns, their new teachers, new kids, new school, new classroom, everything is new even if they went to that school last year. For kids who experience anxiety, as a rule, it's especially challenging. Their anxiety that may have been a bit lower in the summer is back with a vengeance!
Here are a few tips to help your kids and yourself deal with this very anxious time of year!
- Manage your expectations of your kids and situations realistically
- Make sure you are taking good care of yourself to ensure maximum patience with your kids
- Take time away if you need it, meditate, exercise...self-care is of paramount importance, not a luxury
- When your child is expressing anxious feelings, don't try to reason with him/her. Combatting logic with feelings never works!
- Stay in a place of compassion - "I know this is hard!" "Do you need a hug?" "New things can be scary!"
- Don't change plans to accommodate anxiety unless absolutely necessary. Kids have to learn that their anxiety doesn't change the circumstance, it just takes the fun out of it.
This is a stressful time of year for parents and kids alike. The more preparation and proactive planning there is, the happier everyone will be!!
Wishing you balance,
Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT