6 Ways to help an anxious child ease back into school
In this week's podcast we're sharing 6 ways to help an anxious child ease back into school.
Notes from the podcast:
1. Help Them Practice Breathing with Awareness
Most people hold their breath when stressed.
Teach your child to notice:
- Are your shoulders tense and up near your ears?
- Are you clenching your jaw?
- Are you taking shallow breaths?
Help them take a five breath break as many times as they can throughout the day. Use things like traffic lights on the drive in to school, or opening a laptop or a book as cues to take five slow deep belly breaths.
Breath with them. Make it fun, imagine trying to blow the leaves off a tree, or blow a cloud along.
2. Rescue Remedy all round
Add a few drops of Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy to everyone’s water bottle in the morning for sipping throughout the day. The transition back into a set routine can be challenging, Rescue Remedy will help settle anticipation, anxiety and adjusting.
Available from Nelsons and Amazon.
3. Put something to look forward to at the end of their first day
A favourite meal, a swim, a trip to the park, inviting a friend home, a new book to read together. Having something to look forward to helps get through the day and out the other side.
4. Allow space for anyone anxious to be heard
The start of a new school year can be really hard on many children, especially the sensitive kids. Calling them silly, or telling them to toughen up or get on with it only increases their anxiety.
Allow time and space to hear them. Even if their concern sounds silly to you, it isn’t to them. Hear their worries then they know they have support when they need it.
We can’t fix everything, but we can be there.
Once a child feels heard and that they are allowed space and time to express their feelings you can start talking about supportive and solutions. But always hear them first.
5. Let them know worry is natural
It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with a worried child. They need to know that and you do too.
We all worry sometimes.
6. Collect power points
Worry makes children feel very uncertain and can erode their confidence. As a confidence booster make a point of noting their best efforts and good qualities.
If you see them being thoughtful - tell them. If they help a friend - appreciate it. If you see them trying to be brave - reflect it back to them.
If they’re good at climbing, riding a bike, anything, let them know you see it and you think it’s great.
You could make a chart, or have a round of applause for kind acts or brave deeds over dinner.
The more they can focus on what they can do, the less they will worry over what they can’t and their confidence will grow.