My friend, Mandi Ehman, is running a great Back to School series over at Life…Your Way, and I’m flattered to have been invited to contribute. Check out my post as well as all the other great resources she’s sharing. You can get a taste of it here:
Change can be hard. And yet as the saying goes, the only constant in life is change.
The advent of a new school year tends to be a time of momentous changes and transitions. Whether your child is starting preschool for the first time, transferring to a new school, or simply changing grades, taking a little time to prepare for these big changes can go a long way to make for a smooth transition.
Anxiety feeds off of the unknown. The more familiarity your child finds in a new situation, the more likely he or she will feel at ease. You can build familiarity before school starts by:
- Playing on the school playground
- Finding other children from the class or school and scheduling playdates
- Attending Back to School events and Open Houses
- Learning the name of your child’s teacher, or better yet, meeting him or her with your child
- Knowing the policies and procedures such as dress codes, permissible items, and drop off/pick up zones
When your child knows a little bit about what to expect and what will be expected, she’ll not only experience less anxiety, but also be better prepared for successful, positive experiences.
Get the whole post over at Life…Your Way!
Top photo by Kippster.
Diana Fischer says
I love the tips in this post! I was wondering, though, do you have even more tips for children who have school phobia? My daughter is suffering from extreme school phobia, but we are going to try to start a new school this year. We pulled her out of her last school half-way through last year because of this problem and because her teacher was very unwilling to work with us, and also happened to be the cause of the crisis event that triggered the problem in the first place. If you want to read a little more detail about it, I wrote a post about it on my blog at http://thefischerfamilynews.blogspot.com/2011/06/isaacs-birthday-and-camping.html. You’ll want to scroll down towards the bottom; I talk about it in the last paragraph (that’s pretty long!). Not mentioned in that post is some of the reason she suffers from this phobia. My oldest son passed away when Eden was only one and he was 2 1/2 (I wrote you a while back about it), so she has had to deal with that. Also, my husband was laid off due to the economy 3 years ago and has not been able to find work. We’ve moved twice since then, and my father-in-law, who we had lived most of my daughter’s life with, also passed away 2 weeks before my husband was laid off. So, we’ve had lots of things happen that have made making a stable life difficult to maintain, and I feel these are huge factors as to why my daughter has struggled. Anyway, I’m just curious what your advice would be for how to handle my daughter’s transition back into school, especially since school was the triggering event to this problem. I have a general idea of what I think would be best; a gradual introduction back to school, but I really don’t know what a good time frame for expectations is. I was also wondering if you had any tips or advice that could help in other ways as well, such as ways to deal with anxiety or help a child calm down from anxiety. I know this is a lot, but I would appreciate anything you could offer me! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!!
Diana Fischer says
PS-My daughter will be starting the 2nd grade.
You should be commended for being so attuned to your children and adapting to their needs. In reading your description on your blog, I think you might want to look into the clinical services offered at The Children’s Center, since they are in your area. http://www.tccslc.org/treatment-02.html They do an amazing job and are equipped for situations similar to what you’re experiencing with your daughter. As a non-profit agency, they are able to work out a way to provide services within any financial/insurance scenario. As you mentioned, separation anxiety is a normal thing at certain developmental stages and at certain levels of severity. I feel qualified to help within those normal ranges of challenge, but I think a clinical evaluation would be helpful for you and your daughter. I hope you find some great help there. Tips for helping separation anxiety that occurs within the typical range will be helpful as well, but it would be wise to seek out some individualized services. I hope you find your daughter’s new school to be more responsive than the last. You’re wise to seek out the counselor there as well. Best of luck to you and your daughter!
Diana Fischer says
Thank you! I will look into that center!
Nicely done! I’m a kindergarten teacher and really appreciate posts like these! I wrote a free ebook, available on my blogs, if you are interested.