Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Helping Your Kids Ease Back To School
As summer draws to a close, some parents may notice the telltale signs of school-induced anxiety in their kids. Most kids usually get excited about buying new school clothes and supplies, and look forward to seeing their friends. For others there is marked anxiety about having to face new teachers, meeting new kids and finding the classroom. How do parents know that their children may need help getting through the start of the new school year?
Dr. Anne Marie Albano, director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders and author of a parent guide on school refusal behavior, says that parents and children must work together to lessen a child’s anxiety.
“This type of excessive worrying in kids should not be dismissed. While it is normal to have butterflies about what new responsibilities and expectations 10th grade may bring, night sweats and disturbed sleep leading up to the first day of school is not your garden-variety nervousness.” She adds, “Kids with anxieties aren't able to look towards school in a positive way, they are just plain scared about what could go wrong or how bad things can get when in school. For these kids, anxiety takes over and they are unable to settle in for the school year.”
A few suggestions from Dr. Albano:
· If your school offers you the opportunity to bring children in early to help get them acclimated to the school building, take advantage of that.
· Bring your child to meet teachers before the first day of school .
· Involve your child in the fun our picking out school clothes and supplies.
· Start a scrap book of positive school memories.
· If none of this works, get a referral of child psychiatrist or psychologist. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to help.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tofachstoler/3855777138/