How to Help Your Children Who Suffer From School Anxiety

Are your kids putting their shoes on slower in the morning? Is the walk to the bus stop more like a funeral march than a joyful ritual? Are you running out of things to say to your crying child at drop-off time?

School anxiety is a real problem in the twenty-first century, and even the most loving parents can find it challenging. With standardized tests, strange social situations, and growing workloads, you’d be a little anxious, too!

The truth is, we’re in the middle of a paradigm shift, and the education industry has not yet caught up. What kids need is the opportunity to learn skills that can help them manage stress and self-soothe. While there may be a few minutes for “social-emotional learning” in the school curriculum, it’s often not enough. 

What can parents do to ease their anxious kids? Keep reading for a few ideas that might help.

Insist on Routine

Children love routine and predictability. It makes them feel safe because they always know what to expect. If your child is having difficulty separating, you might need to add some structure to drop-off time. 

Routines are especially important surrounding transitions. You might want to create a visual schedule of the morning routine. Make sure to incorporate time together, such as a few minutes to read a favorite book. 

When learning how to calm young kids, try not to switch up the routine without a warning. For example, if you anticipate a morning doctor’s appointment, give plenty of notice. This allows your child to anticipate the change and adapt.  

Eat Dinner Together

According to researchers from the Harvard School of Education, eating dinner as a family can have a major impact on relationships. It can improve mood and emotional regulation in children.

If your child is struggling with something specific, the dinner table is an excellent place to talk about it. Use the time to ask clarifying questions and come up with actionable solutions. You might learn about bullies, strained social relationships, or trouble with teachers.

Try a Different Pedagogical Approach

Not every school will be perfect for every child. If your intelligent child seems to be struggling with instruction, you might consider a Montessori education. This approach values learning at a child’s own pace and gives struggling students and smart students equal opportunities to thrive.

Children in Montessori programs work together. A lot of the work is project-based and hands-on. There are fewer transitions, as students may stay with their class for two or more years. 

Don’t Let School Anxiety Win!

No parent wakes up in the morning thinking “I can’t wait to make my child anxious!” Even so, you might feel guilty insisting that they get on the school bus anyway. These ideas can help your child build the skills they need to develop resilience and thrive anywhere, even with school anxiety. 

Kids aren’t the only ones who deserve to learn new skills! Check out the rest of the blog for more posts that can help boost your family relationships. 

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