The time of year where, we wonder where the time went. Those long drawn-out weeks that seemed never-ending have pretty much evaporated.
Now it’s the end of August they might take on extra weight. Going back to school can be as anxiety provoking for a parents as much as a student.
Some young people love school, but others can have many fears and experience anxieties about different things.
Young people can put themselves under a lot of pressure for school. Make sure to check in with your son or daughter about how they’re feeling about school and why.
When talking to them about school use reassurance sparingly. Too much reassurance will prevent them from learning to reassure themselves.
Acknowledge, understand and listen to their anxiety. Try not to dismiss it. Do try to empathise not sympathise.
Work on solutions together, letting them take the lead.
Whatever the outcome, don’t support the option of avoiding school.
Things are often not as as bad they can anticipate. Going back to school is no exception.
They may be worried about going back as they’ve missed some time last year, for whatever reason and find that it goes unnoticed or unmentioned. Help them prepare for that too. If they’ve been building how everyone will react in their head, it could be devastating to have people act like it was no big deal.
Work through all the possible scenarios they might face. Ask them to remember a time when they were dreading something, and then it turned out OK. Remind them of this.
Encourage positive self-talk to reduce back to school anxiety. Tell them to work hard and think past the first day and week, focusing on the second day, or the second week. Once they’re back in the swing of it, the new term might be manageable.
If you’re worried about bullying, and they have experienced it before see how they’re feeling about this. Has the school been notified?
Every school in Ireland has an anti-bullying policy, but sometimes, unfortunately, they need to be reminded to act upon it.
If your son or daughter has experienced bullying they will more than likely need to work on their self-esteem. Come up with some ideas to do stuff they enjoy at the end of their first week so they have something to look forward to.
Communicate that there will always be challenges in school, but as much as possible they should try to enjoy the time.
Getting the balance of school work with taking part in extra-curricular activities and socialising will help your son or daughter build resilience and have an good sense of wellbeing.