We are just over a week into the school year and it has been a phenomenal start. How is yours? We have handled a little anxiety here and there but honestly less than most years. However, until we are through the return after Labor Day weekend, I hold my breath just a little each morning.
We put a lot of focus on the start of the school year. We brace ourselves and prepare for the ‘back to school’ anxiety. For some of our children, back to school anxiety means fears of returning to school on a daily basis not just at the beginning of the year.
Scripts to ease sadness
If you find your child is still experiencing sadness about the school day, the following may be helpful. It is best to have these conversations outside of the stressful moment.
- “I was thinking about how you were crying before school today. Tell me, what’s going on?” LISTEN (see if there’s anything you can do to improve it other than letting your child skip)
- “I will do everything I can to make it better – I’ll work with your teacher. Do you have an idea of what would help school feel better?” LISTEN
- “School is your job. Just like daddy and I go to jobs. I know it’s hard after such a fun summer AND we still have to go. It sounds like we need something special to get through this tough time. Let’s think about what would help…”
- Gear the solution towards something that connects your child to you – back rub in morning, special song, eating together not rushing, peaceful snuggle time before bed (which helps kids drift to sleep more easily when it’s lights out and they’ve had a fun day).
Signs of separation anxiety
It is still early in the year but if you are 4-6 weeks into the school year and your child is still having a difficult time separating from you, it may be time to seek advice from a professional. An article from WebMD, lists the most common symptoms of separation anxiety disorder:
- An unrealistic and lasting worry that something bad will happen to the parent or caregiver if the child leaves
- An unrealistic and lasting worry that something bad will happen to the child if he or she leaves the caregiver
- Refusal to go to school in order to stay with the caregiver
- Refusal to go to sleep without the caregiver being nearby or to sleep away from home
- Fear of being alone
- Nightmares about being separated
- Bed wetting
- Complaints of physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches, on school days
- Repeated temper tantrums or pleading
If you believe your child is experiencing separation anxiety or you aren’t connecting as a family in general, allow me to be a resource for you. And as always, remember, You are enough and are not alone.
Be well friends