Starting a new school for any child can be worrying and stressful. But it doesn’t have to be as HEALTH speaks to Ross Anthony Addison, Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who provides tips on easing the transition.
- Make sure your child has physically seen the school and ideally has been taken on a tour of the school.
- If possible, try to encourage a meeting between your child and their new teacher.
- Listen to your child if they are asking questions about school and try to be curious in terms of what they’re thinking. Your child asking questions is an indication of anxiety.
- Try to encourage some routine and structure in their day before school actually starts.
- If there are signs of anxiety, encourage your child to stay active and distracted in the build-up to school starting, whilst also making some time to speak about any worries.
- Ask your child how they’re feeling about school starting and focus on the positives; what they’re looking forward to most.
- Anxiety often causes sleep difficulties; try some deep breathing exercises at night time before bed. 2 seconds in through the nose, hold for 2 seconds, then 2 seconds out the mouth.
- Get reassurance from a friend; ask how they are feeling about starting a new school or new school year.
- Kids can speak to their parents about it. They’ve started at new schools and may be able to help you worry less.
- On the first day, kids should try to talk to as many people as they can, even if it’s just saying ‘hi’.
- Positive self-talk helps: write down some phrases that reassure you. ‘Lots of people worry about starting at a new school’.‘I’ve made friends before, I can make them again’. Repeat these to yourself anytime you start to worry or feel anxious about school.