How To Reduce School Anxiety!!
I can’t believe how fast these School holidays have flown by!
I think we have all enjoyed the spontaneous nature of holidays. No schedules, no lunches to make the night before, no organising uniforms and enjoying long mornings lounging in our pyjamas……..
But the thought of a new school year commencing next week can make some kids feel anxious and nervous about the unknown or if they struggled last year they are fearful of all that happening again this year.
My daughter commences secondary School next week. New School, new teachers, new friends, new routines…….
She is feeling both excited and a little nervous which I feel are all very normal feelings to have.
However, when we were in the shoe store fitting her new School shoes, the young girl serving us innocently commented that she struggled moving from year 6 where she was the leader of the school to starting Year 7 where she was at the bottom again starting at a new school.
As we walked out of the store my daughter commented “Mum, should I be worried about starting Secondary School?” Wow, isn’t it amazing how someone else’s perception and experience can influence others?
I answered her with a series of Questions to help her reflect and come up with her own answer to that question…….
“What do YOU want your new school year to look like?”
“What qualities do you wish for your new friends to have?”
“How do YOU want to FEEL at School?”
“What would your ideal School day look and feel like?”
I use these “Empowered Questions” often when my children ask me questions so that it gives them the opportunity to feel into what it is they want to create in their lives and to focus on these positive outcomes.
This helps them focus on what they DO want rather than worry about what they DON’T want to happen.
It also Empowers them to know they always have the answers that are right for them rather than taking on someone else’s perceptions.
The new school year is exciting but it can be full of anxiety and overwhelm for so many children.
Here are some tips that can support you all in this big transition.
1. Junk Journal
This is a great time for your child to brain dump all the things they are concerned about on to paper. I like to call this the Junk Journal because most of the worries and concerns your child/teenager has are:
- Someone else’s perceptions they have just adopted
- They are worried about possible future events that never eventuate.
- They are worried that past events will repeat.
just allow the pen to flow and have them write (or draw if they prefer) everything they feel anxious about.
Then have them discuss with you what they have written
Make them feel safe with no judgement. Some things they will realise they have no need for concern and others they can actually create a positive plan to solve – such as focusing on how they want their School day to look like rather than focus on the past.
This process by itself can help to reduce some of the anxiety as they have it out of their head on the paper.
2. The breath
When your child is stressed, they will automatically think about negative outcomes and what could go wrong or worry about the past. When you can bring their focus to their breath it will automatically calm their nervous System down and calm their mind chatter as well as help them to think clearer.
The Long Exhalation breath is fantastic to help ease anxiety. By making the Exhalation longer than the inhalation it actually resets the Nervous System and calms the fight and flight response.
Breath in for 4 counts and exhale for 8 counts.
Do 3 deep breathes and notice the shift in energy.
3. Create YOUR Intentions
Ask the following questions for your child to create their ideal day and stay focused on what they DO WANT to happen at School.
- How do you want to feel when you leave the house to go to School?
- What is something you can do to help you feel that way? (Hint: The above breathing exercise is a really good start!)
- Which of your friends are you looking forward to seeing at School?
- What qualities do you like in your friends?
- How do you want to feel at School?
- What subjects/sport do you enjoy?
- What does your ideal School day look and feel like?
For some children, they may find this hard to do. Just be consistent and keep asking these type of questions to rewire their brain to start to actually think about what they DO want rather than focus on the negative.
4. Discuss Expectations
Chat with your child about what their goals and desires are for the year ahead without any expectations from you.
Give them a vision of School life that encompasses positive aspects
Learning new things, making new friends, new activities, new experiences….create a beautiful positive world that they want to jump into.
Create a few sentences that hold the energy of how your child wants to feel at School.
“I am really excited about going to School and meeting all my old friends and making new friends. I feel so happy to find out who my new teachers are and to learn new and exciting things. This will be a great year for me.”
5. Responsibility and Routine
Structure and Routine gives your child a feeling of control over their outcomes.
Start to create a routine now that is similar to the school mornings such as when to get out of bed, shower, breakfast, meditation, energy medicine, affirmations……
Create a calendar where your child is able to set specific times and checklists to achieve these outcomes. This will give them the structure they thrive on and also sets them up to practice responsibility.
When your child has a plan and knows what is coming up next they feel calm and focused.
May need to tighten up a few boundaries that were loosened during the holidays. Have a chat about expectations around the house, chores and routines. This is much better done before school starts.
When kids know what is expected and they have some structure they feel safe.
7. Reduce your stress as a parent
Energetically your child feels your stress and worry. Everything is energy including your thoughts and it’s amazing how you can affect your child in a positive or negative way.
Your energy field is what supports your child, they either feel your support, encouragement or love or they are bombarded with your fears, worries and doubts.
Remember this is a big transition for your child going into a new year level or commencing at a whole new School, so give them the time and space to talk with you and feel heard. Try not to put your expectations on them Let them know they are loved no matter what and that you are always there for them and ready to listen to their successes and their challenges.