Planning Ahead Can Reduce Back-to-School
SATURDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Although many children
anxiously anticipate the first day of school, some may be more
nervous about the transition than others.
Children who are excessively worried for a prolonged period of
time may have a larger problem, an expert says.
"Even though most children are anxious during a time of change, they can be quite happy and adjust to the new school within two weeks. But if a child does not adjust, there are issues beyond the transition," child-adolescent psychologist Vivian Friedman, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release.
Friedman said there are ways parents can help alleviate their
child's stress as they head back to school, including:
- Scheduling a play date with a child from the new school.
- Visiting the school playground during the summer.
- Taking a tour of the school before classes start.
Above all else, Friedman added, stay positive. That means, be on
time, refrain from crying, and don't compare your children to
others. That would only add to their stress.
"Character styles are persistent, not permanent. A child who approaches life with fear may also be a cautious adult," explained Friedman. "An easy-going child is likely to continue to approach life with a positive attitude. Help your child to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty. When a child has a negative view, after acknowledging how he feels, ask him how else he might view that situation or how someone else might see it."
Children who remain overly anxious about school for more than
two weeks may suffer from trauma and need outside help, said
Freidman. Children who exhibit the following symptoms may have an
- Threatening to run away or hurt themselves.
- Having nightmares or other sleep disturbances.
- Renewed bedwetting.
- Having generally anxious behavior or startling easily.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides more
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