managing school jittersAnother school year has started and you will have excited kids, happy to see their friends again. But preparing for the beginning of the school term for some can be tough. Some children have the trouble to get into the daily routine of school life again. Instead of prolonging school jitters, parents can implement some of the tips below to ease the transition to school again.

Words can help:

1. Talk about the beginning of school in advance. Getting your child ready to resume school will help to reduce anxiety and prepare him for the new school year.

2. If your child has specific feelings about school (e.g., anxiety, fear, school refusal), acknowledge and talk about them with your child. Be a patient listener before rebutting his feelings. You will have greater clarity and create a stronger bond with your child.

3. Expect some highs and lows, and challenge yourself not to minimise your child’s feelings even when they seem disproportionate. Although a spat with a classmate might not feel like the end of the world to an adult, it might be for a child. Instead of jumping into ‘advisor mode’ with the “Don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine” or “Tomorrow it will all be forgotten”, try to just identify and paraphrase your child’s feelings. Give comment such as “That must have been hard for you!” or “Sounds like a tough day” can go a long way in getting your child to open up and be more receptive to your advice.

What is on the agenda?

4. The first month is usually tougher as the child has to adapt to a new routine again. At the beginning of the term, sit with your child and design a colourful timetable that defines school time, homework and play time. Include rewards for achievements. Stating clear expectations and the understanding of what are the gains from following the rules helps to respect them and avoid the homework battles.

5. Be realistic about your expectations. Your child might not be acing his math class, but he might be very good at sports or language composition. Praise his achievements and strengthen his self-confidence. Celebrate small achievements.

6. Be positive and encouraging. Show your child what is good about school and how to make the best of it. You are your child’s best supporter.

Now, you will be all set to enjoy the school year with your child!

About the Author:
Dr Silvia Fontanella is the Associate Director/Psychologist of Von Auer Psychology Centre VAPC. Her focus is on helping children and adults overcome clinical or behavioural problems including anxiety, anger, and mood disorders. Silvia also provides educational and psychological assessments.

For more information, visit www.vapc.sg