Most of us can remember our first days at school and the jitters that we felt. Sometimes, these jitters were happy ones…getting back back to the books and classroom meant seeing our friends again after the long hot summer.
It also meant slipping into a familiar routine which we know can be consolingly comfortable.
At times though, anxious worries can spoil the fun of the return to routine mornings, scheduled daytimes, and earlier bedtimes.
As a parent, I can remember struggling with the after Labor Day schedules. Here are some pointers to remember when parent anxiety rises.
- Recognize your own anxiety– Take care that your own worries do not exacerbate the worries of your child. Anxiety is contagious! Meditate or take some time yourself to relax and model this settling behavior for your children during moments of anxiety.
- Try to have a conversation with your kids– Listen to your children and validate their feelings…sometimes, they will want to talk about back-to-school stuff and sometimes, they will want to avoid the discussion. Be available, be non-judgmental, be empathic.
- Plan ahead– Structure and planning eases anxiety because children know what to expect. Perhaps a visit to school or meeting new classmates can be arranged ahead of time.
- Follow good eating and sleeping habits– Nourishment and rest are essentials to health and keeping a watchful eye on what you buy at the grocery store can be helpful as can a regular bedtime that allows for adequate rest and sleep.
- Treat high anxiety– If you or your child seem to experience over the top anxiety, it might be time to consult a counselor for some more ideas as to how to treat these feelings. Help is available, you just have to ask.
- Stay in touch with your kids– During the school year, keep listening to your children. Their conversations with friends can tell you more about them than you think you want or need to know.
But remember, an empathic ear can give you a heads-up to situations before they hatch into problems.