The anxiety might already be building up, in you and your child.
Just the thought of starting a new school year brings you sleepless nights or worry.
Your child is already saying, I don’t want to go to school. They are afraid of not making friends. Of not being able to meet the teacher’s expectations? Or even their own expectations?
Going back to school anxiety is a real thing. And just like with any other reason for anxiety, you face this mental turbulence, because you realize, that there are things out of your control. And so does your child.
Anxiety is usually the worry about the future, something that you might not be able to foresee and your mind goes in circles. You know, your mind’s job is to keep you safe. When you sense a feeling of uncertainty, that can create a feeling of threat. And there it goes! Your mind hocks on to this thought “oh no I don’t know how to do it, it will be so hard (again)”
And that creates a feeling, a feeling of anxiety in your body. Often we don’t notice that we have disturbing anxious thoughts until we feel them in the body. This is when you need to break the cycle, the cycle of negative thoughts, and anxious feelings in your body, resulting in more negative thoughts being validated by the anxious feeling.
Your child feels similarly.
Positive messages and conversations about the new school year will help to focus the mind on what you can actually control. Talk to your child about their goals for the next year, their accomplishments from last year, and what they are mostly looking forward to.
Talking about the things that didn’t go so well is also a good way of closing that chapter, and making a plan “what you can do if…” will strengthen your child’s confidence, knowing they have a backup plan, tools, and knowledge how to handle the hard stuff.
You as a mom can support your child also with getting back to routines. Going to sleep late, sleeping in, unstructured mealtimes, and lots of unstructured play are all excellent things about the summer holidays.
That makes it often hard to get back into the structure of school days. So start 1 or ideally 2 weeks before the beginning of the new academic year with early bedtime and early waking up. Schedule your mealtimes around the time that your child eats at school.
Children love love love to grow up. Use this to your advantage momma! I cannot recommend this often enough. Children love to feel empowered, grown-up and independent (even though they are still your baby and need you for many things – being empowered and still feeling cared for, both is possible and necessary).
So pick out a new school outfit. New pants, a new dress, a new set of undies. They will see how much they grew and will love to show it to their friends.
Transitions can be tough for your child, just remember that their brain is trying to keep them safe.
Empowerment, routines, and positive conversations will help them to overcome this transition.