School Nerves – Helping your Child settle into School

Going to a new school, or entering a new class, can be nerve-wracking for your child. Put yourself in their shoes- they are going into a new situation, perhaps with new people, in a setting they aren?t familiar with, and they have some idea that they are expected to learn, to behave well and to make friends. It is bound to make them feel pressured, and this anxiety can really taint those early school days.

Helping your Child Settle into School

Help them know what to expect. Let them play with the schoolbag, ?practice? wearing the uniform and show them the school building before the big day. The more things they feel familiar with, the less the anxiety should be. You could even show them pictures of the school on the school website if possible.

Talk about your own school days in a positive way, say how much you loved playing with the toys, and how it was so much fun to play with new friends.

If you can, arrange to meet up with another child from the class for a play date. This will mean that there is at least one familiar face in the crowd when your child starts.

No matter how funny the worries may seem, remember that they are very real and very big to your child. Don?t downplay them, instead put them in perspective and reassure the child that you are nearby and the teacher can call you at any point, the school is very safe and the teachers are very kind? whatever the worry, reassure the child without making them feel that their anxiety is silly.

Health at Home

If your child is not sleeping enough, eating well or is dealing with a difficult home life, this can make the move to school much more difficult. A tired child will feel more anxious and a child who isn?t sleeping or eating well won?t have the energy to engage properly in the activities and will feel frustrated. If your child feels like they are needed at home, for whatever reason, they won?t settle into school. If they have issues at home which are playing on their mind and stopping them from fully involving themselves in the school day, they may feel anxious about going back the next day.

Clinginess at the School Gate

It?s every parent?s worst nightmare, a child clinging to them, begging them not leave! While this is likely to be just as distressing for you as it is for your child, many teachers can tell you that they are likely to settle down and be distracted by an activity before you have even made it out of the playground. Settle them to the point where they will sit with you in the classroom, then tell them firmly that you will be back very soon to get them, and leave. If it makes you feel better, wait and have a peep through the door to make sure they have settled down.

It can be a very tough transition for your child, whether they are going from home to school or from one school to another. Enjoy the time outside of school and persevere with encouraging your child, making a fuss of the paintings they bring home, admiring their new uniform, praising their friends? in time, they will start to feel safe and get excited about the school day.

Read More School Related Articles:

Getting Involved in your Child’s School Life
Establishing a School Routine
School Nerves – Helping Your Child Settle into School

Author: Arlene Copeland

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