By now, your kids have probably settled into the routine of the new school year, adapting to changes to their bedtime, breakfast and homework schedules.
But if your child is still having anxiety, and maybe even telling you they don’t want to go to school, it could be a reason to dig deeper.
“Don’t try to talk to them when they’re fighting in the morning, because when kids are already feeling emotional around a topic, it’s usually better to help them calm down,” said Sarah Oatney-Weiler, head of early childhood and lower education at Harrisburg Academy.
Oatney-Weiler says once kids have calmed down, try to talk to them using simple language. As them questions, because sometimes children don’t have the appropriate language to describe their feelings or their situation by themselves. She says you should look for changes to their routine that could indicate something is bothering them, such as deviations from their normal diet.
If you notice a repeating pattern, she says you should reach out to the teacher.
“We all have off days, but if it’s a continual thing, talking to their teacher is the second step,” Oatney-Weiler said. “Often times the teacher observes something that might be happening and can say, ‘oh I think this might be bothering this child.”
Oatney-Weiler says teachers can come up with an action plan to help ease the child’s stress and can also bring in a principal or guidance counselor when necessary. She says most times, it’s relationships with peers that creates more anxiety than anything happening in the actual classroom.