Written by Lenore Pranzo
Yes it is that time of year again, back to school! It always brings that Staples commercial to mind ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’. However it may not be for the kids and sometimes not for the parents either. If you are already stressed and your kids are too, then read on. If not, go put on some music and keep dancing around the house until the bus drops the kids home. Otherwise to deal with the stress you can help your child and you identify where the anxiety is coming from, then you can work on strategies together for the school year and beyond.
How can you identify what the anxiety stems from? First ask your child these questions:
- Is it academic or social?
- If it is academic, is there a specific subject?
- If social, can you identify the situations you are most worried about?
- Is there something else that you might be worried about?
Now that it is identified, state that one way to help with worrying about it is to work on new approaches.
- How have you handled this in the past?
- Did that work?
- Was anyone helpful to you?
- If so, can they continue to be helpful?
- If not, can you think of anyone that can help?
- For instance if you did x what do you think would happen?
- What do you think would happen if you didn’t do what you normally do?
Tell them that if their new approach doesn’t work it is ok and it can continue to change. These skills at helping working through problems, without you as the parent, coming up with the answers will help them enormously. They will be more prepared for things and they will understand the learning process.
Now if your anxiety is starting to peak as well, you also need to identify where it stems from. Is it about remembering your childhood anxiety? Is it worry about your child’s academics and performing? Is this worry about their performance based on realistic expectations? Meaning is it super important that your child excel in one subject when they truly have more of an aptitude for other ones? Are you comparing your family to other families and setting everyone up for too much stress? Does your child need to play three sports and an instrument? Just keep asking yourself what you want your child to gain from childhood. Remember my blog on scaling back in an overscheduled world? If not take a look back to last fall’s blogs where my article helps us remind ourselves to keep evaluating our schedules year after year.
If leading a calmer life is your goal for you and your family you might want to try yoga or meditation together. Either find family yoga classes or research some DVDs that are good for all ages. The meditation is something you can do by just putting on relaxing music and helping your child with their breath. They don’t need much time and 5 minutes could be perfect for great results. After they have practiced it remind them to use it during stressful or high anxiety situations. I hope that this article was helpful. If you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203.274.0158.