This is a guest post by Joyce Wilson. She is a retired teacher who enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on Teacher Spark.
With a new school year comes excitement, opportunity, and fun challenges; however, if your child suffers from anxiety, he or she may already fear the upcoming school year. New classes, people, and pressures are just some of the reasons children can feel anxious about starting another year of school. If you want to help guide your child during this difficult time, consider taking a few additional parenting steps.
Start a Dialogue
At times, it may be difficult to empathize with your child about his or her thoughts and fears; that being said, communicating with your child can significantly reduce anxiety. Start by taking a few deep breaths together to help calm your child down. Next, evaluate the situation to help you come up with some solutions to try. Inquire about what he or she thinks is the very worst thing that could happen. Maybe your child fears math class because it takes longer to learn certain topics. If this is the case, you can ask your child what he or she thinks is the worst thing that could happen if they do not understand a topic. After this, make some suggestions about how to remedy a particular situation. You could encourage your child to ask the teacher for help over lunchtime or offer to provide additional homework help after school. Once viable solutions are presented, you may notice a decrease in anxiety.
Make the Mornings Positive
Morning can be stressful for children. As soon as school-aged children wake-up, they have to think about countless academic, social, and physical tasks. Just thinking about everything that needs to be done can cause high levels of anxiety and stress. If you find your child is highly anxious in the mornings, be sure to make mornings as positive as possible. To do this, consider creating a stress-free morning. For example, you could help your child organize his or her belongings the evening before school and keep an eye out for anything they might be forgetting. You can also reduce stress by preparing a healthy breakfast and packing something special for lunch. Lastly, try not to place additional demands on your child before school; for example, do not make mornings a time for chores or homework.
Prioritize Nutrition with Multivitamins
Nutrition plays a key role in mental health. For example, zinc, which is found in nuts, whole grains, and legumes, can help reduce anxiety. As important as it is to eat a nutritious diet, however, it isn’t always easy to meet the daily nutrition requirements from food alone. That’s why you should encourage your child to take a multivitamin. Not only will it give your child the nutrients they need every day, it will also help to strengthen their immune system. Make sure you choose a multivitamin that includes probiotics, in order to support your child’s gut health as well.
Offer Organizational Help
Children with anxiety are more likely to be disorganized and forgetful. Not only are they more prone to disorganization, they are also more likely to internalize their lack of organization as a personal flaw. If you want to help your child get organized, consider investing in a few key items (binders, dividers, day planners, etc). Encourage your child to write down his/her homework tasks as well as other extracurricular commitments. Some parents find it helpful to have a large family calendar to help children keep track of what needs to be done.
Invest in Learning Tools
You might also consider investing in some solid back-to-school gear specific to your child’s unique needs. A good pair of headphones is often one of the best investments you can make. Younger children are often required to do online exercises and games as part of their learning curriculum, and a great headset can facilitate maximum learning. If you have an older child, headphones can help make homework fun and enjoyable. Music also has the power to reduce anxiety by facilitating relaxation.
Back-to-school should be exciting, not overwhelming. If your child suffers from anxiety, consider taking a few extra steps to ensure their school year is off to a great start. Starting a dialogue, making mornings enjoyable, encouraging multivitamins, offering organizational help, and investing in quality learning tools can make this September the best one yet. Best of luck in the school year!
Article by Joyce Wilson
Confidence shines on your face.
Kindness grows in your heart.
Character melts in your blood.
Toughness crafts in your life.
You are a woman who is so strong and can be gentle;
So educated and can be humble;
So passionate and can be rational.
Happiness will not follow you all the time.
Angry, frustration, depression would catch you up some of the time.
It would be more helpful to transfer the emotion into internal peace of self-fulfillment via the change of self-narratives.
Make a statement of individuality.
Be more of you and less of them.
Determination of who you are.
Live your passion. Walk your journey to growth.
Don't look for happiness. Plant it.
I read a piece of news to tell that a kid had called police numerous times a day reporting a fake crime. Why the boy did that stupid thing? The policeman realized that the boy was too lonely.He bought the boy a toy trying to stop the boy called him again. In fact, the boy needs a friend more than a toy.
Snoopy is glad to have Woodstock as best friend.
Piglet feels lucky to have Winnie the Pooh as forever friend.
"We will be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?" asked Piglet
"Even longer”, Pooh answered
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered
"Nothing”, said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
(A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner)
We need to feel that we are a part of something bigger, that we care about others and the others care for us in return. Help the kids to take advantage of opportunities at school or among neighbors to expand their friendship base.
Choose the friend wisely
We are well aware that the company your kid keeps does have a negative or positive impact on him or her. One day, Susan asked her mother how to choose friends wisely.
Mommy, what is the meaning of friendship? How to choose friends wisely?
In a party, some laugh at you, some laugh with you. But in the end, after the fun, the one who stays to help you clean up the mess is your friend. And most of the time, she is not the one to make the mess.
Hey girl, did you make new friends in school?
Sandy is my new best friend. She is my classmate.
She never forgot to get me a souvenir from her vacation tour.
Willing to share the food with me
Wait for me even if I was far too late
Allow me to play her for a fool.
Sandy treats you as friend. Always remember be nice to other people. Things change, people change, connection stay.
2. Wonderful people right here
The kids might get plenty of friends via the medium of social media. There might be wonderful people out there but beware don't take appearance for facts. . Why not take the opportunity to get to know the people right here? Someone is near and close to them.
I love this story:
“Andy fell into conversation with one particular person during his computer journey and soon found that they had much in common and thoroughly enjoyed conversing with each other. Weeks later, during a computer conversation with this new friend, Andy house lost electrical power, shutting down his computer and cutting off his link to his friend. When the electricity came back on, Andy searched from his friend only to find that the friend, at the very same time, had also been cut off because of electrical outage. When the electricity went off on the street, it went off both of their houses, which were just doors away from each other.”
3. Thanks for the bad guys
There are good guys and bad guys in any screenplays. So do people surround us are friends or hatred guys. Those hatred guys may be our boss, our neighbor or co-workers. We can’t escape to deal with them. But It would be hard for the kid to deal with evil peers without parent support and guidance.
The kids might encounter the evil peers who are:
Ambitious, throwing tantrum, love to fight
Complaint all the time
Dramatic, love to show off or stealing the show
Self-center, neglect other people feeling
The kids have to learn that no one has the liability should treat them nicely (only parents can give them unconditional love). What you think become the words you say. It is the emotion behind the behavior. The emotion behind angry may because you worry you are not able to do anything to change the distasteful situation. Take the opportunity to understand the emotion help to transfer the negative energy to a positive one. It is not easy. It takes effort.
We believe we get a map to guide our kids. It is a set of step-by-step instructions on how to get from the time when he or she was born to a happy ending. What if we’ve got a wrong map?
One day, Jenny read a novel called “when the coffee got cold”. The story relates you are able to return back to the time of your choice. No matter what you do, you can’t change what had happened. Your time in the past starts when your coffee has been poured and ends once the coffee has gone cold.
Jenny is thinking, under this condition, who does she want to talk to before the coffee gets cold?
Time travel back to 2 years before..
On that day, right here in the dining room. Jenny was sipping a cup of hot coffee, reading a book. She saw her 25 years old daughter, Vivian, carried a backpack, and sat down beside her.
I had bought an air ticket. The flight will depart 5 hours later.
You go to where? For how long?
I go to Paris with Jack, and we will settle down in there for our hair dressing career….
Jenny was furious:
You go with that jerk?! Alright!! Thank you for your notification 5 hours before the flight departure! You know what? You are on the path of destruction…. You’re damn wrong to make this terrible mistake!!
Jenny felt angry, desperate, unappreciated because she had made so much sacrifice to this family but nobody thanks her for it. She couldn't stand to ask Vivian to stay and raised the subject of a disagreement with anger and aggression.
“I don’t want to see you in the rest of my life. Get out from here. Now!” Jenny said.
Mom, you know what? I hate you.
They don’t talk to each other from that day.
A cup of hot coffee has been poured. Time machine brings Jenny back on that day. She can stay there until the coffee has gone cold. What would she want to talk to Vivian?
Why you do this to me? Why Jack?
Mom, I have no friends and feel difficult to get along with other people. Jack loves me. He cares for me. I know you would never proud of me. I never would be the person you like.
What makes you think that way?
I failed twice before I was able to get into a university you wanted me to enroll. However, I got finally dropped out of school. You introduced me to your friends this way: “Vivian is a hairdresser, her sister is a banker, though.” Why do you have to focus on my occupation and then say it in a way that makes it sound like you disappointed in my work?
I have no idea. I'm proud of you both. I didn’t intend to make it seemed that your occupation was what matters to me.
Before the coffee gets cold, Jenny comes back to the present time.
Jenny was not able to change what had happened after the time travel journey. Vivian left her on that day to Paris with Jack. The event hadn’t changed, but her thinking had changed, her perspective towards what had happened had changed.
She types the messages on the whatsapp to talk with Vivian:
From that day, they can freely communicate their concerns and needs to each other.
Jenny thinks what if the time machine takes her to the future. The future of 5 years later. What will Vivian talk to her?
Have you ever thought writing a letter to tell your child what he should know and read it in years later at the time when he can understand?
The days are long. The years are short. I bring you to this world to travel through a journey even though I never know you can get a wonderful trip. You might hurt along the journey. But I want to let you know that home is where you can go as you are and not be questioned. Nothing you do could ever cause me to love you less than 100%. I’m blessed to get this privilege to be part of your journey....
One day, I asked my kid the result of his school test as I was curious about why the teacher took so long to give marks. He repeatedly told me that he hadn’t obtained the test result yet. I doubted he was intentionally hiding something. And then I found out he lied to me. He confessed telling me that he worried I would no longer love him because he failed the test. How come he gets the idea that my love for him has the condition?
Children need continuous flow of love
Children need love like the flower need water. The parents matter most to them to be their whole world. They thirst for your full attention and affection to ensure you love them more than anyone else.
When my child was 5 years old…
When he came back home from school, he couldn’t wait to call and find mommy. Mommy was the first person he wanted to see at home.
Whenever I was reading books or sat on the couch watching TV, he felt perfectly happy and secured to sit beside me doing nothing.
If someone bullied against him, he would upset and told me "John beat me" or "Susan was yelling at me", or "Peter was bad". I was his protector, liked a big tree to protect him from the storm and rain.
When he felt he did something great, he couldn’t wait to show me his work and shared his joy of achievement. He was looking for my appreciation.
The child might non-stop talking about whatever happened to him in school. He was trying to tell he trusted you because he regarded you as his biggest supporter and pacifier.
Don’t put your job ahead your family
The greatest gift you can give your loved ones is your time. Make time for the ones you love. If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will. If you want a career, you have to sacrifice family time? If you want a family life, you have to sacrifice your career? In fact, your children are not the distraction of important work. They are the important work. If you’re a career mom and the nine-to-five, Monday to Friday grind not work for you. You may talk to your boss about a flexible schedule, reduce your hours to a part-time job.
Wall scribbling from the toddler is one of the things that drive me crazy. Breath in, breath out, and calm down. How would you respond to wall scribbling from your toddler?
Suggest anything that is working for you..
Happiness is a laughing matter. Don’t you think that we all born with the membrane of happiness? Babies start smiling and laughing after a couple of months they come to this world, their feet kick, hands clasp. They use their body language attempting to tell everyone how much they are excited to feel the joy of happiness in this world. When you watch children running around the playground, you will think they are having so much fun. Children run around and play as if by instinct. Sometimes the children know better than we do about the pursuit for happiness. The research told us that a child laughs 200 times per day as an average because the children get no cap on their curiosity to explore, whatever they see is interesting. They express their love in the most direct evangelist form.
When time goes by, their hearts began to harden up to deal with the world that is too loud, too fast, too bright, and too cruel to bear. Parents, teachers, and peers formulate some conditioning to tell the kid who he is supposed to be, act and think like, in order to get what he wants. The kid might think whatever he is doing can never reach the parent’s expectation. The connection between his true self and the ego-self is broken. If a person has the heart of a child, he would smile a lot more, cry less, and laugh harder. Let the kid keeps his child heart from his early years until his twilight years.
How to spend time with your kid enjoying a good laugh from our days?
1. Shake the track of routine
Traveling is a great way to make the routine a shake. Let’s go somewhere. Pack the things, go travel. There is no place that the kid isn’t curious to explore, no food that he isn’t determined to try, no cap on his curiosity and no ceiling. How many worlds would the kid make up in his head? Every trip liked an Easter egg-riddled journey. He would be so excited when you try to bring his curriculum alive through a trip to a place he is studying. What are inside the jar of memories from traveling? It might be the experience to stay in a tree house, enjoyed the sunlight through the tangle of green limbs swaddled the tree house like a living hammock. The memories must be the adventure occupied by laughing, inclusiveness, and a big heart.
2. Allow yourself some time to laugh, to be silly, with your kid.
Children have a full-time occupation. It calls playing! When your child asks you to play with him, you might say, I don’t have time for that. Adults have responsibilities, we are serious. What if play with the kid, right now, this minute.
I think to have a little fun, a time for pure silliness and happiness with your kid is an essential part of every day.
3. Find humor in a difficult situation, you win.
I have heard a story like that:
John was a famous artist. One day, a car hit him just as he turned around. The careless driver got out of the car and checked whether John got hurt or not. John said, “Oh, you are bad luck. If you killed me by this accident, your name could appear on the news headline!”
There is no objective way to tell you if you have a good day or a good hour. Your life is a success based only upon your judgment. It is not what happened, it is how you think about what happened. The same event can be seen positively, or it can be seen negatively. It depends upon your perspective. The ability to find humor in a difficult situation is a character to see the world through a positive lens, and subconsciously tell the mind that everything is ok. Positive energy is contagious. It did help the kid to build up a positive attitude to go through a hard time.
We are always right. At least, we think so. When we can’t get our kids to do what we want them to do, we push harder, throw out tantrum, we shout. And the kid responds with even more resistance, trigger their defensive mode, shutting us out. At the moment of the heated argument, each of us is sure the other person is the one who is wrong. In fact, there is nothing to be gained from letting yourself become adversarial with your loved ones. How much more important these people are to you than is the issue you are talking about. How to deal with your emotion to avoid the heated argument?
1. Mind your thinking
Toddlers have tantrums. Adults should solve problems. Ever wonder your negative emotion is demonstrating your fear after all? The fear that fuels a narrative of being unheard. The fear that you’re not good enough. The fear that this might be the last chance you get to make everything exactly perfect. Your frustration becomes complaints; grudges become insulting words; helplessness becomes sarcastic.
2. Mind your words
From parents, critical words cut deeply. If you must say something negative, always be constructive. Make your criticism reflect your love and respect, not disappointment. When we use the common word such as stupid, it carries a range of meaning from ill-considered to ignorant. Maybe you meant it in the nicest possible terms, but even then, when speaking to someone, especially someone close, you have to assume that your words will be taken in the strongest, least positive way.
3. Pause before act
Quoted from someone (forget from whom) to say that we take months to learn how to talk, but we take years to learn how to listen. I am not trying to underestimate the ability of the kid to trigger your hot button. You don’t need to back talk immediately. Pause before to response the verbal stimulus. We well aware heated argument can't make thing better.
I ask you, and then you tell me. It means trust
I don’t ask you, and you don’t tell me. What a sort of distance?
I ask you, and you don’t tell me. It is a gap.
I don’t ask you, and you want to tell me. It is reliance.
One day, I told my dad that I felt upset because my hubby won’t listen to my words, all the times. He was unreasonable, not willing to do the thing what I wanted him to do. The response from my dad added fuel to the fire. He said, “You and your mom are alike. Your hubby is not your pet. Why he should do all the things you wanted him to do?" My dad seemed like trying to tell me I was a control freak! Ever heard people said that interfering and controlling was natural to women behavior? We might have a particular view of how things should happen, and we do whatever we need to do to make sure events unfold in what we have determined is the right way. When applying to parenting, we try to exert complete control over all activities to our kids with a don’t do list such as..
Don’t eat candies
Don’t talk with strangers
Don’t get the dirt
Don’t fight with your sibling
Don’t talk to me like that
Don’t touch the toys before finishing your homework
Over time, our kids act for authority approval. They are busy to do what other people tell them to do for the sake of certainty to get the rewards, or at least to get out from the trouble. They tend to believe that who has the power or who holds the authority meant for the law of righteousness. When they were settled to be ok in yesterday, probably it is ok today, and perhaps it should be ok tomorrow. The kid might walk through his journey with the disconnection between his true self and the stereotype conditioning self which base on approval and obligation.
1. Let the kid be his own fan
The kids need self-reinforcement, a belief in themselves that is strong and unwavering. Quoted from Albert Einstein to tell that “the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” For those who believe, it is only a challenge. The kids are happiest when they allow their individual personality to come out, not when they conform to the images that have nothing to do with who they are. They can build up their self-esteem to believe that they are not what is in the glass. They are the glass. They are the one holding the glass. When the kids get into that, they will be ecstatic, live their life with joy and happiness.
2. We are their role model mentor
We only live 20 to 30 years older than our kids which don’t mean that we know everything better than them and try to control every step in their life. On the other hands, we are the role model to our kid as a mirror. A role model is a mentor, not a dictator. I think It would be great if I can be the role model to
show the confidence on the face
grow the kindness in the heart
melt the integrity into the blood
craft the determination in life.
3. Disobedience is ok
What makes the parents think they are successful? Is it when the kid performed a set of expectations you told him to do? When the kid is resistant and rebellion against your order, you might feel upset and furious. Probably they are not intended to take pleasure to make your day miserable, but merely not agree with you in some points of your thinking. It is not a bad thing that the kids don’t feel risky to challenge the authority, and voice out to ask questions.
Ever wonder why the child regard sharing is a negative thing. When I told my child to share his toys or his candies to the others, he would say:
“Why you always ask me to share my thing with the other, you don’t love me anymore?”
“I don’t have that much, if I share it with him, I won’t have any left”
“Why I have to share? I play the toy first, lets him play later after I don’t want to play.”
1. Share means Loss?
The traditional schooling tries to tell the children that the world operates by finite resources in scarcity. They are playing the zero-sum game. From the children point of view, share means loss. They adopted the scarcity model of pizza. I won’t have any left if I share it with you.
Share doesn’t mean lost. It’s more useful to think if I share with you, we will both have it. Or change the child perspective, sharing with others doesn't mean lost, it means to take turns to play it.
The conversation can be like this…
Mom: Mommy understands your feeling. You had played this toy already. The other children haven’t played this toy yet. Let’s the other child play it, and you wait for your turn again
Mom: This toy is played by whom moment before?
Mom: You played the toy just before. Let's another child to play it. You wait for a while, and then you take your turn later.
2. More necessarily mean better?
No surprise the first question from a child when someone gives him something, and then he would say I can get only one? Or can I get another one?
More necessary mean better? I observe the children get the behavior that when they desperately want a specific toy, their whole world revolves around getting this one toy, or otherwise they would feel like they lost their universe. Once their parents buy that toy for them, their joy fades out. They want something else. If they can’t appreciate what they have, more is not a good thing and won’t make them happier. It’s more useful to let the child appreciates what he owns at present and what he may own in the future. They can have nice things and not fear someone would take away from them.
You can talk with your child something like this:
“You play this toy for a long time already, why not exchange the toy with John? You see, his toy can speak.”
“You haven’t played this one before! His toy seems very interesting. Exchange your toy with John. You and John will both have the fun.”
3. Learn the gratitude
Why did some children find it difficult to show gratitude towards the other people? They take it for granted for whatever nice things happen to them. Mostly, you hear more about the complaints from them than to give thanks for dinner, thanks for the ride, and so on.
It’s good to have the dinner conversation about sharing three things they were grateful on that day (don’t cheat and settle for two!).
My girl might tell me something like:
The positive notes help the kids feeding their brains with habitual positive oriented thinking instead of getting stuck in a pattern of negativity. The children learn whatever happened to them are gifted. Sharing the positive stories make them feel connected, and spread the love.
All in all, sharing doesn’t mean to back off when someone tries to take your thing by force. The child should learn to judge the situation. He should learn to protect himself and don’t imitate the bad behavior.
A mom, feminine optimistic style, love to travel. Addict to coffee