Studies indicate that for kids ages 7 to 12, school and fitting in top their worry list. Your job is to help them feel better. Since few children will admit their fears, the need for parents to be informed is paramount. Discuss what they can expect and how you will support them.
Signs and Signals:
1. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or nightmares.
2. Heart palpitations.
3. Changes in eating or bathroom habits.
4. Feeling sick, stomachaches or headaches.
5. Argumentative, increased irritability, aggression and anger.
6. Excessive clinging. Kids' worries range from starting school, attending a different school in a new neighborhood or a transition from elementary to middle school or to high school, to meeting new friends and wanting to be liked.
Separation anxieties in kids and parents include worrying if they will manage all right or who will be available to help them if they get an asthma attack.
Stress can come in the form of a simple rumor circulating that they're stuck with the meanest teacher in the school. Even using the bathrooms and changing in the gym is common.
Some kids will recall unresolved issues of the previous year - threats and run-ins with the class bully.
As a parent, listen, discuss and advise. Let them know that you love them and are there to support them.
Making Back to School Safer and More Fun
1. Shop for new clothes with your kids. Get hip with current trends and prevent arguments.
2. Pick up the newest school supplies.
3. Plan lunch menus.
4. Create a comfortable study space.
5. Discuss all the do's and don'ts from crossing the street safely to talking to strangers.
6. Talk about what to do if your child is picked on or bullied. For example, if someone forces him to give up his lunch money or new jacket.
7. If your in a new neighborhood with a new school, contact the school and ask if someone from your child's class lives in the area. Introduce them or go to the local park together.
8. Continue reminding your children about all the wonderful things they excel in.
Making Mad-Dash Mornings Manageable
1. Set out the next day' s clothes the night before. Gather all the homework and books the previous night and pack the backpack.
2. Decide on the breakfast menu.
3. Lunch is ready and in the fridge, with a loving note, picture or joke tucked inside. This does wonders to brighten up their day.
4. Establish wake-up times, second calls and consequences for sleeping in and missing breakfast or the bus.
5. Make a list for yourself and for each child to check off in the morning to ensure everyone remembers everything.
6. The atmosphere you create for your child in the morning will impact his entire day. Choose cheerfulness no matter how much that hurts you.
7. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Gulp the leaded Java, sip the wheatgrass or do your stretches before your star awakens.
Remember, don't constantly try to check on your child throughout the day...phoning counts. No news is good news. They have your number.
By: Alexandra Penn (2007)
Alexandra Penn helped to create the award-winning CD, The No-Nonsense Guide To Kids' Bullying Solutions. See www.championsagainstbullying.com for more details and to sign up for the Champions Against Bullying newsletter.
To share parenting tips or submit questions fill out our Contact Form. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.