We are getting closer and closer to school doors opening and our little ones being greeted by new teachers, new routines, new classmates, and for some totally new environments. This can be frightening for any child. Just think about starting a whole new job every year with a whole new boss, set of rules, and co-workers.
This time of the year can be exceptionally difficult for children who experience generalized anxiety, a learning disability, an attentional deficit, or autism. As parents you may be finding that your child is either Acting Out or Acting In. Acting Out may include disobedience, sassiness, and an unwillingness to follow routines. Acting In may include withdrawing, wanting to watch more tv and play more video games, and refusal to engage socially with family and friends.
1-Set Routines: If your child is Acting Out or Acting In it is a good time to reestablish routines because that provides structure and can be very calming to children who are experiencing any form of back to school jitters.
2- Generate Excitement: Start creating some back-to-school traditions like on Friday’s we make a meal together or on Tuesday after school we stop by Dunkin Donuts. If you can replace some anxious thoughts with some excitement that can go a long way.
3- Get Caught Up: Make sure your child is caught up on summer assignments that may be looming over their heads. They may have been in avoidance mode all summer but its time to set a schedule and get it all done calmly without last minute frantic meltdowns.
4-Breathe: Stay calm yourself. A calm approach to a stressed-out child goes a long way. Make sure you are taking care of your own well-being so you can be fully there for your child.
5- Speak Up: Don’t be afraid to share your concerns with the teacher and counselor if they persist so they are prepared to support your child when they get back.
6-Get Help: If the behavior persists after your child has returned to school it might be time to talk to someone professionally about what your child is experiencing and how to best help them.