Do you think your child will be anxious about the new changes and safety measures in school? These “P’s” will help your child feel calm and secure as they go off to school once again.
Too much time at home with your kids? Wondering what will happen if schools have to shut down again? Worried about masking requirements, especially for a child in the younger grades? We have all had these thoughts running through our heads as we finish our back to school shopping and transition our children back to school. As parents, our primary goal is to produce happy and (physically and emotionally) healthy children.
Here are the Five P’s to help your child transition back to school:
1. Pat on the Back- It is very important for children to feel safe and secure in their home so that they feel better prepared for the unknown in school. Studies have established that touch is vital to healthy adjustment for children of all ages. Parents should be constantly providing their children with physical input through touch, whether through a tap on the shoulder, a hug, or any physical contact, to help them feel secure and loved.
2. Pictures- are worth a thousand words. Show your child pictures of what their classroom will look like (plexiglass, children and teachers wearing masks) so that they can anticipate what to expect in school and reduce their anxiety and fear. The more prepared your child is for school, the more relaxed and comfortable they will be.
3. Personal Item- Give your child something to put in their knapsack to remind them of home if they start feeling anxious or overwhelmed throughout the school day. It could be a keychain, a knickknack, or even a family picture, that can invoke positive memories.
4. Playdates- Encourage getting together with classmates to help ease the awkwardness at the beginning of the school year. Kids need something to reference in common with their peers, and having a fun get together will give them the confidence to strike up a conversation on the next day.
5. PACE Brain Gym Exercise – Here is a great anxiety-relieving exercise for both parents and children alike. Brain Gym helps the brain pathways cross to enforce a stronger connection and increase calm and focus. Here is my favorite Brain Gym Exercise: Extend both of your arms in front of you. Place your thumbs down, cross your wrists, interlace your fingers, and twist your arms into your chest. Next, cross your legs at your ankles, gently rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathe slowly through your nose for two minutes. Once you are relaxed, uncross, and touch your fingertips to each other. This exercise is great to do before school and before homework, whenever your child is the most anxious and stressed.
Here’s to a happy, safe, and productive school year!