Whether it’s worries about starting a new school or being in a new class, or fear of going back to the place with the same old bullies, the run up to the start of the new school year can create a ton of stress in our kids. During stressful times like these it’s important to try and keep the lines of communication open, and remember that what kids might not be able to communicate with words, they may be communicating with actions, so try to dig underneath any sudden ‘bad’ behaviour to get to the real issue. If your child is struggling here are some things you can try to ease their fears.
Remind your child that you love them, it might sound a bit obvious, and really you know that they should ‘know’ that you love them, but sometimes we just need people to love us a little louder, right? Connect with them through play, be interested in something they’re doing, give them your undivided attention for a while, just *be* with them so they can feel that bond between you strengthen like a rope so that when they have to be away from you and deal with stressful things throughout the day at school by themselves, they can still feel that tether, that safety.
Remember that anxiety isn’t always rational, they may be afraid of scenarios that sound ridiculous to you, and they may even realise themselves that their worries are silly, but that doesn’t stop them feeling afraid. Listen to them, take them seriously and remind them that you are there for them. Don’t belittle them or tell them they’re “worrying about nothing” or just to simply “not worry” about whatever it is, that isn’t going to work and they may avoid confiding in you in future about potentially more serious matters!
You could try teaching them some calming breathing exercises, mantras to repeat or make meditation or yoga part of your morning or evening routine. Teaching kids appropriate coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and worry is really important. Chances are you were never taught this by your parents and it’s something you’ve had to figure out as an adult (because likewise, their parents never showed them!) but now you know better, you can do better!
If your child is worried about certain scenarios you could practise role-playing them or going through them so they feel more prepared. If your child is worried about making friends see if you can arrange meet up with some of the other kids before term starts (I know one soft-play place near me is doing sessions on different days for the different local primary schools, which I thought was a fab idea!) some kids are better 1:1 than when overwhelmed by a whole class load of new people.
If your child is experiencing separation anxiety you could get a special bracelet or something they could wear to be reminded of you while they’re at school (I love this one from ‘Visible from Space’
see photo below!)
Also you could try some reassuring essential oils, we have a ‘calm’ blend in a small aromatherapy rollerball bottle that we can rub on a wrist to smell to feel calm when things are overwhelming or stressful. The ‘calm’ blend is simply a few drops of sweet orange essential oil and a few drops of frankincense essential oil topped up with a carrier oil of your choice.
Homeopathy is great for helping anxiety too, a common choice for anxiety about uncertainty (especially if it causes an upset stomach) is Argent Nit
, or if the anxiety is caused by being out of routine or a change in routine then Calc Carb
. If they are worried about being shy or timid then Gelsemium
would be a good choice. If your child is very upset and close to tears and needing a lot of reassurance then Pulsatilla
You could also try Bach’s Rescue Remedy, not only do they sell it in the usual drop form but they also do lozenges
and jelly sweets now that a child could take with them if they needed.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you out, I know it’s hard to see them worry about things that happen when they’re not with you and you can feel a bit helpless. Obviously if your child is having problems with bullying or issues with not receiving appropriate SEN help then you need to be sure to take this up with the school too as they should be dealing properly with those things.
If your child just seriously struggles with the school environment generally it might also be worth looking in to Home Education as well (I know it’s not legal everywhere, but it is here in the UK and the community is awesome!) as the school system really does seem to just set some kids up for failure. If you happen to be in Cheshire and need pointing in the direction of any Home Educating groups or resources drop me a line!
Do you have a child who struggles with back to school anxiety? Have you found something that works that isn’t on my list? Let me know in the comments! ❤