Recent surveys suggest that more than 80 per cent of children say that school is the major source of stress in their life. The two major types of stresses are social (bullies, difficulties making friends, missing home, etc.) and academic (difficulties in doing the work or problems with a specific subject).
Here are some suggestions for parents that may help make going to school easier:
- Remind your child that he/she is not alone in feeling anxious during the first day of school.
- Before school starts, make sure that all the logistics and paper work have been done in order to avoid any confusion and extra stress during the first day of school.
- When appropriate, drive or walk your child to school and pick him/her up on the first day Going to school with a friend from the neighborhood may help too.
- Make sure you know lunch and snack times and rules. For example: does your child have to buy lunch? Is the school “peanut and nut free”?
- Make sure that your child has had his annual medical check up including vision screening. Also, make the proper arrangements if your child needs to take medication at school. If your child has any allergies (especially food allergies) make sure that the school is aware of them and is prepared for any allergic reactions.
- When your child is starting the year at a new school, recognize that he/she might need extra support. Talk to your child about his/her thoughts and fears about the new school. It’s also a good idea to visit the school with your child before school begins. Looking into the new classroom and meeting the new teacher in advance (and principal) will help make the first official day of school easier. Also, if possible, meeting a new classmate or two before school starts is also a good idea.
- By recognizing that school is stressful to most children, parents can continually support their children and keep an open dialogue on any school-related issue with their child. Also, children are reassured when they discover that their parents went through school and survived! It’s always a good idea to share your school experiences with them too!
FOR MORE RELATED INFORMATION VISIT DR.PAUL’s SECTION ON: School Issues- Common Questions Parents Have
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.