Whether your child spent the last year in a classroom or learning from home, returning to in-person classes for a new school year can cause a bit of anxiety. But did you know that there are steps you can take to help your child ease back into classes? Here are some ways to relieve back-to-school anxiety.
Most children probably won’t understand that what they are experiencing is anxiety, but they may mention the symptoms they’re experiencing. Keep in mind that there are many different types of anxiety; to name a few, separation anxiety, social anxiety, testing anxiety, and generalized anxiety. It’s important to know that anxiety manifests differently depending on what type the child is experiencing, and even then, everyone experiences anxiety differently. Some of the common ways it shows in children are:
⦁ Shaking or trembling
⦁ Recurring fear or distress in the absence of parents
⦁ Trouble concentrating
⦁ Inability to get rid of negative thoughts
⦁ Avoiding people or social situations
⦁ Difficulty sleeping
⦁ Refusing to sleep alone
⦁ Restlessness or feeling on edge
⦁ Racing heartbeat
⦁ Low self-esteem
⦁ Dizziness or fatigue
Of course, these aren’t the only signs of anxiety in children, and if you feel your child is experiencing anxiety, trust your instincts and have them try out some meditation or mindful breathing.
Deep breathing is one of the simplest ways to ease anxiety. A proven method of deep breathing can be practicing 4-7-8 breaths, a technique where one breathes in through their nose for a count of 4 seconds, holds their breath for 7 seconds, and then breathes out through their mouth for 8 seconds. Another good way to practice mindfulness is through loving-kindness meditation, which can help relieve anxiety and promote high self-esteem. Meditations, in general, are an excellent way to get out of your immediate headspace and begin to look at your situation from another viewpoint.
It’s important to remember that one of the most crucial things about teaching your child mindfulness is learning by example. If you don’t believe in it or practice mindfulness yourself, they’re most likely not going to take too kindly to it.
Your child must know that you take their mental health as seriously as their physical health. It’s important to intervene and teach them behaviors that will help them calm down from their anxious state. In fact, most anxiety disorders are treated best using cognitive behavioral therapy, a treatment that involves knowing when one is in an anxious state and trying to resolve the feeling before it worsens. By teaching your child these ways to manage their anxiety, you’re staying a step ahead of the game and starting them on the path to overcoming their anxious behaviors will also prove to be a bonding experience.
If your child is experiencing symptoms of any mental illness, schedule a check-up with their pediatrician or family medicine physician.
Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, and it’s essential to check up on both regularly. One of the best ways to check up on your child’s physical health is to schedule a routine physical for them every year before the beginning of the school year. Here’s a helpful checklist that can guide you through what to expect at a physical: