The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time. It involved new clothes, new school supplies, and possibly new friends. The very things that make this time exciting can also make it challenging.
A change of classrooms, teachers, or schools can bring on anxiety. Even for older children a new situation can mean changes in long-time friendships, or the emergence of a previously coped with learning issue like staying organized. With all of the excitement of the new school year it can be difficult to sort through what challenges are temporary and what needs to be addressed. However, there are good things parents can do in the meantime.
1. Be open to interaction. This means that the screens (phones, tablets, computers, televisions) should be set aside. This is the time for many short, but important, conversations that help your child to think through anxiety and challenge. They need to be comforted, to brainstorm ideas, and to get feedback. Be available!
2. Identify emotions. This is not the time to assume that your child is correctly identifying emotions. For example, worry can easily morph into fear, and jealously can be mistaken for anger. You will help your child to regulate emotions if you help them to understand the appropriate emotion for the situation. Be attentive!
3. Encourage resolution. Ask your child to think about possible solutions before you start making suggestions. Give feedback, but sometimes it is best to let them try their solution first. Be supportive!
Children do not gain confidence from winning at a stress-free life or from having their problems solved for them. They gain confidence when they struggle and cope with challenges. Children develop resilience when the learn that God has given them people who are there to help.