It is important to manage your own fears and anxieties when approaching a new school year. Children often pick up on their parents’ and caregivers’ feelings and attitudes no matter how subtle.
Be sure to highlight the fun and exciting things that a new school year brings rather than focusing on all of the changes and challenges.
Listen empathetically and validate your child’s feelings. Whether your child is telling you they are scared and worried about school, or whether they are communicating through negative behavior choices, let them know their concerns are normal and you understand why they are feeling this way. Sometimes all it takes to calm their worries is validation and allowing children to express themselves. You can even get them interactive robots for kids so that they can learn social skills.
Give ample notice of the changes that are coming and involve your child in the process. It is important to inform your child when school will be starting and make them aware of the modifications that will be made so that they know what to expect.
Take your child back to school shopping and allow them to select their own school supplies. This helps give your child some control over the changes that are coming and can be an important step in alleviating some of their worries.
Establish new and predictable daily routines. Provide a calendar and schedule for your child so they can visualize the changes that will be coming. This calendar or schedule can include pictures of the school, the child’s bus driver, teachers, and therapists, as well as pictures of other steps in the daily routine. Laying out the day like a storyboard may help ease the challenge of transitioning from one step to the next.