6 tips to reduce school anxiety

Mr 6 is off to start a new year of school tomorrow.  There is a myriad of articles and blog posts to help parents reduce anxiety for their kids starting school.  However there doesn’t seem to a whole lot of tips for the parents.

It’s a pretty big deal when our babies head off to big school.  I thought with Mr 6 having been at daycare that I wouldn’t be emotional about him starting school.  How wrong I was.education-908512_640

This year, our second year I am looking forward to the things that he will learn, but the anxiety has popped up again in the last few days.  These are the things I did last year to help reduce my anxiety about Mr 6 starting school.

  1. Get to know your child’s teacher and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Your child is going to be spending a lot of time with this person over the next 40 or so weeks.  Introduce yourself on the first day and don’t be afraid to ask them questions.  I am sure they have heard all of the questions, and have dealt with anxious parents before.  Mr 6 had a really great teaching team last year who helped to alleviate a lot of my fears about him starting.
  2. Get to know other school mums.  I think that the school gate politics gets a bit of a bad wrap sometimes.  The other school mums, some who have older children in the school, can be a wealth of information and support.  If you have a child like Mr 6 who seems to promptly forget everything they did that day, it’s also good to chat to other mums about what the kids are up to.
  3. Organise things to keep you busy the first week.  If you are a stay at home mum like me, it might seem very quiet in your house during that first week.  I think I spent most of the first day watching the clock to see how long until it was time to pick Mr 6 up and find out how his first day went.  Keeping busy will help take your mind off all of the ‘what if’ anxiety that more often than not never eventuates.
  4. If you are worried, speak to your child’s teacher.  One downside to the school gate is that if you have concerns about your child already, discussion about what kids are doing at school can exacerbate these fears.  Sometimes as parents we worry about things that aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  I also learnt that what Mr 6 did at school with his friends (when it came to learning) was often different to what he did at home when there were more distractions.  If you are worried, talk to your child’s teacher.  They generally have a better idea of when to worry and where your child should be academically.
  5. Check to see if your child’s school has a Facebook page.  A school Facebook page is a great way to keep up with what the school is up to.  It’s also a great resource for reminders about special days at school, excursions and fundraisers.  You can feel like you’re really out of the loop when you turn up at school to find everyone else has their child in costume!
  6. They really will be OK.  Most kids are absolutely fine at school.  Be confident in your parenting, that they will share with you if there is issues.  I know how hard it is to be away from your child, and them be in an environment that seems so grown up!  Breathe, you can make it.

Have you got a child starting school this year?

Do you remember your own first day of school?

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18 thoughts on “6 tips to reduce school anxiety

  1. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    Big day! Go Mr 6! You’ve got this. Oh, and you too Mum 🙂

    I have a child starting high school next week, and another child starting “college” (which is just a fancy way of saying “year 11 at a new school” here in the ACT).
    I think all those tips are actually applicable for me too!
    Another tip I’d add would be to take them to the school grounds a few times in advance to have a wander around and get a feel for it (even if you can’t get inside), just so it doesn’t seem so strange and scary on their first day.

    Reply
  2. Angela

    You have some great tips in this. I’ve been fine until today about Coops going to school. Luckily he has Max’s teacher from last year so we are already both familiar with the school, teachers and prep routine. So far it isn’t making it any easier. I feel a little empty inside.

    Reply
  3. Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject

    Great tips! Getting to know the teacher and the other Mums has always served me well. If you have the opportunity to volunteer to help with reading or other activities, it’s another good way to help yourself and your child feel at ease. BTW – love the red sneakers in your pic – coincidentally, my blog pic for today has red sneakers too! We must have good taste 🙂

    Reply
  4. Pinky Poinker

    Sensible tips, Tegan. I wish all mothers were like you. Sometimes I see mothers standing outside at the port racks staring in to the classroom. That just winds up making it worse. Even so, I remember leaving my first baby on his first day and worrying myself sick too 🙂

    Reply
  5. Lauren

    Great advice! (from a Reception teacher) 🙂 It’s definitely important for parents to know that us teachers are approachable – even though we look (and usually are) very busy doing a million things, still approach us and we’ll either chat to you then and there, or make another time ASAP to speak with you and address your concerns. Good luck going back to school Mr 6!

    Reply
  6. Rebecca Bowyer

    We’ve got the first day of school for our eldest in just 2 days. The transition program has been brilliant though, so we’re feeling really comfortable about it – there were about 8 sessions in the second half of last year! #TeamIBOT

    Reply
  7. Jen Rose

    Those are some great tips! My daughter is starting preschool and I reckon I’m more nervous than she is. I’m glad they’re hosting a parents morning tea after the drop off so I can get to know some of the other parents too. It’s good to know we’re not alone in this big step!

    Reply
  8. Denyse Whelan Blogs

    This is spot-on Tegan! Thank you for opening up such an important conversation. You did a great job for his first year and thanks to that I am sure your son did too. It’s IS hard and you make very important points. I loved the idea that you become more involved as a parent. It pays dividends over and over! Denyse

    Reply
  9. Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers

    I have my son starting his first year of school in June and my 3 year old started kindy last week! I’m nervous for Cohen but excited too, I think he will enjoy it but he’s not a ‘sit still’ kinda kid so I’m a bit worried about that and him making friends and all the usual garb! Good tips about getting to know the teacher. unfortunately I have always missed the before school mum club because of work which kinda sucks because then Cohen misses out on parties and things because they don’t know the mum …

    Reply
  10. Hugzilla

    This is a wonderful post Tegan – you really have your mojo going! I have to agree on the school mums thing. After hearing so many horrible stories I thought I’d be walking into a nest of vipers, but everyone I met in the first year of school was absolutely lovely, and so helpful.

    Reply
  11. Kell @ All Mum Said

    Great post! I have never been too worried about my kids going to school, I have been the mum counting down the days until they go back! haha. My boys have been very independent so there was never much need to worry, will be interesting when the girls go to school and see how they go and whether they are excited about it.

    Reply
  12. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    These are awesome tips. My youngest starts kindergarten next Monday while my older two head back on Thursday. I definitely agree with the tip to get to know your child’s teacher. It really makes a difference, especially if there are transition issues down the track. Good luck for tomorrow!

    Reply
  13. Kathy

    All great tips Tegan. We have our son repeating his Prep year and this brings up lots of worries about leaving friends behind and why he has to ‘start again’. I got the ‘I hate you Mum, it is all your fault’ after the first day (although he was fine going into his class). Parenting is a hard gig sometimes.

    Reply
  14. Karen

    Great tips here. My daughter is starting her second year of school today, too. I think she is more nervous than last year, which makes me more anxious. Made me wonder if I was missing something. But talking to her helped, and I’ll be getting to know the teacher too. Visiting from #IBOT

    Reply

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