Dealing With 'New School' Anxiety

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com speaks to Holistic Healing 4 Children’s’ Jacqui Gray and Terri Allen, both OFSTED approved educational therapists, about how children can deal with new school anxiety...
Dealing With 'New School' Anxiety
By C Hoppe
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With the new school year on the horizon, WhichSchoolAdvisor chats to ‘Holistic Healing 4 Children’s’ Jacqui Gray and Terri Allen, both OFSTED approved holistic educational therapists for children, teenagers and parents, certified co-active life coaches, and counsellors for children and adolescents, to discover some of their top tips for those preparing children for a new school start this September.

There are many reasons why parents decide to move their child to a new school but it is not usually an easy decision and it takes research and consideration for the child’s needs.

If a family has just relocated to a new country there are a lot of adjustments that have to be made and for a child this is not always an easy time.  If they have had to leave friends and family behind there may initially be resentment, sadness, anger and anxiety, which will all have an impact on their emotional health.  The child will need time, understanding and support to help them adjust to their new situation.

Sometimes a child might feel like they don’t fit in, either academically or socially, and this can be hard for the whole family, especially if they had been happy in a previous school.  But the opposite can also be true and a child who had been very unhappy in one school can be totally happy in his new one suggesting that not every school will be right for your child.  Remember though that moving schools can sometimes give a child the impression that they cannot deal with life's challenges and this could be detrimental to their development.

If you do decide to move your child to a new school, try and make it at the beginning of an academic year as this will make it easier for making new friends.  If you move a child half way through the year then friendship groups have already been established making it hard for your child.

Starting at a new school can be an exciting or daunting time for your child.  When things change children can become very anxious with thoughts of a new teacher, new class and a new school.

For the younger child it is quite common for old behaviours to return a few weeks before school starts.  This is a period where they might fight more with their siblings and answer parents back.  All very common as the anxiety, fear and worry of what’s coming can create the behaviour to digress.

If your child is moving to a new school this summer, give your child opportunities to talk about what they are worried about.

Try to avoid telling them not to worry as this can stop them from telling you how they really feel.  If they don’t find it easy to talk then give them creative things to do such as painting, drawing, clay modeling etc. We find that children are very good at working out solutions for themselves, so try and get them to come up with some ideas that will help them to feel less anxious.  You can certainly help with some suggestions but allow them to be in charge as to what will work best for them.

Holistic Healing 4 Children has a great selection of Visualisations for parent to download on the site. These are particularly good for the school child as they help the children to relax and release any worries they may have. It teaches them from a young age a fantastic skill, which will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

If they are worried about friends then maybe it’s a good idea to arrange play dates before the beginning of term and/or on the first day of term you could meet up with one of their friends before going into school so they are not alone.

Be there for your child as much as possible leading up to the new term and the first few weeks until they are settled.

Going shopping for school bags, stationary, notebooks etc. can help them feel both involved and prepared.

As a parent it is natural for us to worry but try not to worry too much as our anxiety creates more anxiety in them.  Trust that they will be fine, and don’t forget to look after yourself during this time, either!

Remember that each child is individual and each child will settle in differently.  Try not to measure your child against other children in their class.  See the beauty and individuality that is within your own special child and relax in the knowledge that with your love and support they will be fine in their own time.

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