Summertime is coming to an end, and with that comes all of the back to school anxiety and jitters that are common among kids and parents. Your kids may experience the common physical effects of anxiety associated with back to school time – ranging from stomach aches to sleeping problems. They may also experience emotional stress from the fear of making new friends, meeting new teachers, fear of being bullied, pressure of getting good grades, and worries of being unpopular. With that said, it’s important for us as parents to first remember that these physical and emotional feelings are very common, and even the most well adjusted kids are bound to feel some sort of pressure when they return back to school.
The question becomes: what can we do to help our kids cope with the physical and emotional stresses associated with the back to school season? Over the past few weeks, I’ve been providing tips that I’ve shared with parents over the years which have been most helpful. Here’s number three in the series …
Tip #3: Make sure your kids feel comfortable communicating with you
Communicating is crucial when it comes to all of the stress and challenges your kids will face each day at school. It’s important for your kids to feel comfortable speaking with you about bullies, fears, and anxieties. You can turn any challenge around if you set it up right.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind to get your kids to feel more comfortable communicating.
- Never ignore your kid’s anxieties or stresses. This is a crucial mistake that many parents make, though most of the time it’s an accident. Sometimes parents get so tangled up with all of their own responsibilities that they brush aside situations brought up by their kids that seem trivial or unimportant. What you need to remember is: EVERYTHING your kids say to you is important to them!
- Ask them about their day to keep an open dialog. Sometimes kids hold back in sharing their fears and anxieties simply because they don’t want to bother you. By asking them about how their day was and if there was anything they wanted to talk about, you’re showing them you care.
- Try to put their anxieties and stresses into a perspective that they understand. For example, everyone is bullied at one point in their life. If your kids stress is about bullying, share your bullying experience and let them know that you understand how they feel and then provide a simple solution that they can handle.
Reflect back to when you were a kid and think of how you would have parented yourself. What would you do differently than your parents? What would you (or do you already) do the same? Life is a mystery and an adventure. Both good and bad experiences are part of life, and can help you understand your kids a little better. Keep this blog in mind and refer to it when you feel like you need a little parenting boost. Hopefully one day you’ll share these tips with your kids as they enter adulthood and become parents themselves!
Next week we’ll talk about seeking out ways to increase your kids confidence!
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