Monday, August 16, 2004

First day at school! Tips to reduce anxiety

I know a 4 year old kid who started day 1 of school crying! On day 27 of school he was crying too, in fact things had gotten worse! So much so that his mother actually thought of dropping a whole academic year and restart next year. Fortunately saner council prevailed and on day 28 the mother was instructed NOT to accompany the child to school. Over the next month or so the boy actually slowly started adjusting to school and finally learnt to like it and enjoy. Later he went to med school and is writing this article today. Of course not all kids behave this way, my wife apparently had a lovely first day at school she waved back happily to her parents from the school gates and never looked back!
I suppose children fall somewhere between these 2 extremes!
Most mothers are aware of horror stories about starting school by the time their child is a toddler. Here are a few tips to ease the transition
  • Talk to kids about school before classes begin. It may be helpful to describe what will happen during the school day.
  • Consider bringing children to their school before the school year starts. If possible, show them around the school, including their classroom, the playground, the lunch room and the rest room.
  • Getting children into a routine may help them get ready for school. Allow children to participate in decisions, such as what clothes to wear and what to have for breakfast or lunch.
  • For children who are especially anxious about starting school, taking a few reminders from home, such as photos, may help put them at ease.
  • Once school starts, make plans to spend time with classmates outside of school to encourage friendships.
  • After school, talk to children about their day and give them positive feedback about what they say.
  • Finally, parents should let children know that it is OK to be a little nervous about starting school, because everyone gets a little nervous when doing something for the first time.

For most kids, school is a very positive experience, though it’s certainly true that some kids have more difficulty than others when they start school. Usually, this anxiety passes within the first couple of days or weeks.
But if a child seems to be having difficulty adjusting -- makes lots of calls home during the day or has physical symptoms like headaches and stomach aches – then it may make sense to speak to the child's teacher or talk to a pediatrician or family doctor, who may make a referral to a mental health professional (child psychologist). Usually, these kinds of consultations tend to be relatively brief, and may involve some sort of play therapy to help understand a child's anxiety.

Source: Reuters Health eline, 8th August, 2004


Anonymous said...

It was good,
Your mom

Anonymous said...

I will definitely try these out! When my kids starting going to school that is!