The first day of Primary school can be rough on some kids. After all, junior isn’t just leaving the freedom and fun of the year-end holidays behind them, they’ll have to get used to the school structure, as well as familiarise themselves with the routine of a school timetable.
If school anxiety isn’t resolved, this may result in tears and a loss of quality shuteye for junior. This could cause your child will be less attentive in class and their grades may be affected, as will their confidence.
The good news is once your young ’un gets used to the routine of life as a Primary school pupil, their school anxiety will ease.
What you say can also influence your offspring’s opinion about school. Try these confidence-boosting phrases:
The day before school…
1. "Do you need help packing your school bag?" Sometimes, your child’s fear of being under-prepared could trigger their school anxiety. Sos, going through the contents of their bag can help to reinforce the fact to make sure they have everything they need. It’s also a good way to encourage them to cultivate the habit of checking their bags daily.
2. "Can you show me how you are going to introduce yourself?" Role-playing is another great way to help your child cope with their social anxiety, especially if they’re shy. Practising how they should react in social interactions teaches them what to do when it really happens. If your child is older, suggest for them to ask their new classmates questions like: "What did you do during your school holidays?"
Just before school starts…
3. "How do you feel about going to school?" Letting your child air their fears without interrupting allows them to process their thoughts as well. As junior opens up about their feelings, you should validate their fears by explaining that it's normal to feel that way. Sometimes, it may also helpful if you share your personal experiences of how you dealt with your own fears when you were young.
4. "What are you looking forward to?" or “What makes you happy about starting/going to school?” Lift their mood ― replace your child’s fear of going to school with something exciting and positive. Talk about making new friends or the delicious food they’ll enjoy during recess. You can also emphasise how proud you are of the big boy and girl they have become.
Giving your child the task of having things to tell you about school at the end of the day changes the way they view school.
5. "What can I do to help you feel better?" Instead of jumping to conclusions about what they would like, sometimes, you should try asking your child what they need to stay calm. You could also suggest alternatives to soothe their fears such as giving them a reassuring hug.
6. “Mummy/Daddy will come fetch you once school is over.” Knowing what to expect once school is over may calm their fears. This way, your child knows they will be seeing a familiar face after a day of getting to know new people.
7. “I can’t wait to hear about what exciting/new things you’re doing/learning in school today!” Giving your child the task of having things to tell you about school at the end of the day changes the way they view school. Asking this question regularly can change your child’s attitude to learning as well. It sparks their passion to look for opportunities and avenues to expand their knowledge.
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