Thursday, August 30, 2018

Wallet-Friendly Tips to Get Your Anxious Child Through the New School Year

Image via Unsplash

Some kids can't wait to go to school, where they get to spend all day with friends while learning new subjects. But for other kids, the first day of school is utterly anxiety-inducing. Will my teacher be nice? Who will I sit with at lunch? What if I can't find my classroom? These are just a few of the worries going through an anxious child's mind before the first day.

Back-to-school anxiety arises out of a fear of the unknown. Kids aren't sure what to expect from a new grade, teacher, and classroom, so they imagine possibilities. For an anxious child, those possibilities center around things that could go wrong. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to ease your child's fears that won’t hurt your wallet.

Figure Out Routines
Start by transitioning to school routines a couple of weeks before school begins. When your child is already in the habit of waking up early, getting dressed, and eating breakfast in the morning, there's less chaos and running around on the first day of school. And when your child's home environment is calm and collected, he's more likely to feel calm as well.

Take advantage of back-to-school events that let you meet teachers and tour classrooms. These events are a great opportunity to rehearse your child's schedule to ease fears about getting lost on the first day. Practice walking to each class, the cafeteria, lockers, and buses so your child feels confident finding his way. If you think it would help keep you and your child on track, purchase a planner (consider using online coupons from retailers such as Staples to save some money) to help keep all of your thoughts and activities organized.

The Power of Reassurance
As the first day approaches, avoid soothing your child with empty reassurances like “you'll be fine.” Instead, ask your child about his specific fears and problem solve together. Brainstorming solutions shows your child these situations aren't as scary as they seem.

Emphasize the positive aspects of school as well. There's a lot of fun to be found at school, even for an anxious child. Your child will get to see friends, learn more about a favorite subject, and join fun extracurricular activities. And don’t worry too much about the things he or she might need for these activities -- there are plenty of coupons and cashback rewards from shops like Walmart to take advantage of during these times. After all, these are things worth looking forward to, so don’t let money get in the way of helping your child -- within reason, of course.

Get Ready the Night Before
The night before the first day of school, help your child prepare his clothes and school supplies for the morning. Then, engage in a calming bedtime activity together. Whether it's a bedtime story, a yoga session, or simply an open conversation with each other, setting aside time to relax and quiet the mind ensures your child doesn't lay in bed awake worrying about the next day. To help your child rest comfortably during the night, get some high-quality bed sheets and linen to help keep them cozy. You can find online coupons for outlets such as Linens and Things to help you save a little extra cash. Throughout the school year, the best way to help your child's anxiety is to maintain routines so he heads into each school day feeling prepared.

Make a Home for Homework
In addition to age-appropriate bedtimes, your child should have a set time and place for doing homework. Scheduling homework ensures it doesn't get pushed aside until the last, frantic minute, while carving out a space specifically for study eliminates distractions that prevent your child from focusing.

Your child's homework area should be quiet, well-lit, and stocked with the supplies he needs to complete assignments. It should also have a properly sized desk and chair to prevent posture
problems. A homework space doesn't have to be big or expensive to furnish. A corner of a low-traffic room is plenty, and you can save money on supplies by shopping back-to-school sales, buying in bulk, and using online coupons, promo codes, and cashback opportunities. Major retailers like Amazon or Target are the best place to find such deals.

Back-to-school anxiety is a normal part of childhood, especially for first-time students and children starting at a new school. However, the best way to ease those fears isn't by providing non-stop reassurance or delaying school. Rather, it's by helping children feel prepared, confident, and capable that parents can overcome back-to-school anxiety and promote a positive school experience.
Joyce Wilson

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