HOW TO BEAT THE BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES
Separation anxiety is very common at the beginning of the school year and after long breaks. It can lead to tears or even tantrums when trying to leave the house in the morning. Here are some helpful tips from www.childmind.org and your School Social Worker.
Seeing your child distressed can often be very stressful for parents. Give your child your full attention when saying goodbye. Comfort him or her and acknowledge their feelings. . For example, say “ I know you are upset, you are safe and I will see you after school.” or “ I know you feel worried, you will be okay.” Let your child know that although you understand his or her feelings, there are rules, like going to school, that need to be followed.
Have your child attend a babysitter’s or play-dates for increasing amounts of time. Stay away when away. Sometimes parents will wait in the hallway at school to make sure the child transitioned. If your child sees you, it can actually increase their anxiety by forcing them to re-experience the separation.
Practice and discuss a few key coping strategies your child can use when he or she feels sad. Teaching your child deep breathing techniques is helpful. If your child is having anxiety when they get to school, the staff can use these comforting techniques as well.
DISCOURAGE AVOIDANCE OR ESCAPE BEHAVIORS
It’s important to consistently bring your child to school so that he or she understands they cannot always be with you. Being consistent also communicates your belief that your child can handle their emotions by using coping strategies or getting help. Letting your child avoid what they are anxious about can increase anxiety in the long-term.
USE TRANSITIONAL OBJECTS
It can be helpful to send students to school with a small, non-distracting, reminder of home (ex.picture in the lunchbox, special bead or charm in the pocket, etc.)
PRAISE YOUR CHILD
When you pick your child up, talk to them about how they handled themselves and praise their ability to cope with their feelings! If you are having significant trouble getting your child to school, you are not alone!
Call the school office at 630-393-9414 and ask to speak with the Social Workers or School Psychologists, for more support.