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Women Blossom Blog
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
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