For many kids, the beginning of the school year can be a time of butterflies in their stomach and stress. If students struggle with reading, spelling, or written expression, these worries can be intensified. While I am not a child psychologist, I have seen my fair share of the first days of school and kids with apprehension about their new grade level both as a teacher and – a parent. If your child is not looking forward to the beginning of the year it can cause you both to worry. Here are a few simple and easy to implement solutions that you can help calm your nervous child and set them up for success this school year.
- First and foremost, make sure your child is getting the support they need. You are their number one advocate. Whether that means having an IEP meeting, writing up a reference sheet of IEP accommodations for their teacher, or making sure your child is getting the Structured Literacy tutoringthey need to be successful you need to be their voice. It’s also important to make sure they know what is going on and what is going to be expected from them. Talking through their accommodations and discussing when and where things will be happening can do wonders to help calm your nervous child.
- Once you know that proper supports and interventions are in place both inside and outside of school, as a parent, you want your child to know that there are ways to talk about the worry they are experiencing. For some children drawing or writing their worries may help. As tempting as it is, try not to ask them to “calm down” or “not worry about it.” Your child needs a place to express their concerns through talking, drawing, and writing. Make sure your child knows they can come to you with their worries concerns.
- Come up with a schedule. All kids function better with structure and predictability. This is particularly true for kids who are having apprehensions about their school schedule. Talk to your child about your family schedule, their after-school activities, and any other events. Make sure to include after school tutoring if your child needs additional reading support. For some busy families online tutoringmight be a good option to get in the intervention without sacrificing too much family time.
- Help your child practice deep breathing skills. Once they are able to identify their worry, they can begin to use practical skills to help lessen it. One important way to calm their nerves is to help them learn to focus on their breathing. There are tons of different deep breathing techniques available on the internet and you need to find one that works for your child and aligns with your family belief system.
- Help your child create a toolkit for home and school. This may include some supplies like a stress ball to help them manage their nerves. You may also try using Velcro to attach a textured fabric like flip sequins to the underside of their desk. This gives them something to do with their hands when they start to feel worried at school. Having it underneath the desk is discreet and does not distract other students. For this one you are going to want to make sure it is ok with your child’s teacher. If under the desk in not an option, consider a small piece of fabric in their pocket that they can run between their fingers to help calm them.
- Make sure your child is having all of their physical needs met. Many stress related issues can tend to rear their heads when you don’t get enough sleep or have a poor diet. Make sure your child is sleeping and eating well.
- Also make sure they move their body every day. Exercise releases endorphins that improve mood and reduce stress naturally. Not every family enjoys traditional exercise but there are many fun ways to make sure your child is moving everyday. Going for a bike ride, playing outside, jumping on a trampoline, or making up silly dances to your favorite songs are all some fun ways to help your child get moving.
These tips may help to reduce mild angst related to going back to school. Keep in mind that many bright students struggling with literacy skills may develop stress in trying to deal with their deficits. If this is the cause of your child’s stress, we can address these deficits in a comfortable environment….your home….via audio-video conferencing with a certified literacy specialist. If your child continues to struggle or has intense anxiety symptoms, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor.
Once your child is able to feel calm and comfortable, they can begin to thrive at school. If they struggle with reading, spelling or written expression, it is imperative that you get them involved in Structured Literacy tutoring. Our online option is a good fit for many families. Contact ustoday to learn more.Becky Welsch
Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.