How to Manage Children's Back-to-School Anxiety
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2. You can’t judge a book by someone else’s cover.
Tell your child that it is never possible to know what an experience will be like for one person based on another person’s experience. For example, I have seen many children expect a teacher to be mean or boring simply because another student said she was, only to find out she is warm, caring and interesting. Teach your child to form his own opinion about people, rather than relying on other people’s judgments. This is a valuable life lesson that can be used in all situations.
3. Rehearse your worries away.
Children (and adults) worry about situations they believe they can’t control. You can help your child master his anxiety by imagining he is in the anxiety-producing situation and then encouraging him to role-play how he would behave. For example, he can pretend it is the first day of school by getting dressed in school clothes, putting his backpack on and pretending to walk into the classroom with you as the teacher. Of course, you will greet him with a big smile and show him to his desk. You might also pretend you are a classmate he hasn’t met before and your child can practice greeting and getting to know you. Rehearsing like this will teach him that he has the ability to approach the first day of school with confidence, and you will both have a good laugh!
Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at www.drsusanbartell.com.