THE ANXIOUS / CLINGY CHILD AND SCHOOL
A few weeks ago, maybe even days ago, your young child was excited and ready for school. School supplies had been purchased, the teacher meet & greet had happened, and your child actually went to bed on time the night before the sacred first day of school. All was splendid on the western front until the time to leave appeared....along with A TOTAL MELTDOWN. Your formerly excited child now was a blubbering mess attached to your leg refusing to go to school.
If this scenario rings a bell for you this school year, don’t fret: You and your child can get through this and laugh about it later.
IT’S HARD ON BOTH OF YOU
As a parent, seeing your child cry and plead for you not to leave her at that dreaded school or put her on that stinky bus can be heart-wrenching, but there are ways to make it better for both you and your child.
If you can, find out what’s making your child anxious or afraid, and speak to her about
that in a supportive and factual way. For example, a child might proclaim, “I don’t
remember how to get to my classroom and I’m going to get lost!” You calmly can walk
her back through the steps of getting to her classroom. If needed, draw a small map
or write directions if she can read. (My daughter’s classroom is at the 2nd clock in the
hallway, so we used this as her compass.)
2.What did you ENJOY doing at school today?
3.What are you EXCITED about for tomorrow?
4.What do you LIKE about school so far?
Rinse and Repeat
Give yourselves some time to get used to the new routine while you continue to do the steps above. If your child continues to exhibit high anxiety after the first 4-6 weeks, consider additional support such as a meeting with the teacher, school counselor, or a private counselor.
If you are in the Cincinnati area and are looking for additional help for your child, check out Child Counseling Place.
- Erica L. Daniels, LPCC-S
Pediatric Mental Health Counselor
Child Counseling Place