How to Help Your Child Overcome Fears about School and Tips on helping them make friends
Many homesteaders either choose to homeschool or live so far off the grid that homeschooling is their only option. I myself believe homeschooling is a wonderful thing. Many people assume that when you consider yourself a homesteader, and you have kids, then that means you must homeschool.
For our family though, we decided to send our kids to a traditional school and have done since our eldest was 5. We are lucky in that we have a wonderful, caring, small community elementary school that our kids have all attended and loved. But unfortunately, when they grow out of that elementary school they have to bus to town and attend the Junior High and then High schools in our small town. Transitions and changes are scary and whether your child is starting kindergarten or transitioning to a high school, it can be a challenge sometimes to overcome those fears. Here are ten ways to help your child overcome his or her fears about school.
One of the best ways to help with those fears is to make a friend or two so I have included below some tips on how to help kids make friends at school.
How to Help Your Child Overcome Fears about School
1. It’s important to know that fears about school are very common. So don’t dismiss your child’s fears. Let him (or her) know that many experience similar fears. However, it’s important to talk about it to make sure there’s not something more going on – like maybe a bully or some sort of abuse. This is rare, but that’s why it’s important to not be dismissive of your child’s fears and be open to communication.
2. Make sure your child is taking care of the basics. Eating and sleeping are still important.
3. Help your child problem solve and come up with a plan to deal with these fears. Ask him, “What’s the worst case scenario of your fear?” Then ask, “And what can you do if that does happen?”
4. Role play with your child. If your child is fearful because of a bully, then try a little role play to help him come up with ways to deal with the bully.
5. Shift your child’s focus. Help your child see the good in things. Find something about school that your child enjoys and have him focus on that.
6. Make sure you’re not adding to your child’s anxiety. Sometimes our own fears about things can rub off onto our children. You need to make sure you aren’t expressing your own fears with your child. And if you are, then take some time to talk about it together. But make more of an effort to not put your fears on your child.
7. Create a routine. Many times a child’s fears revolve around just not knowing. So create a schedule so your child knows what to expect. It will help transition into the school routine.
8. Go to the school with your child. If it’s nervousness about the school and where classes are, then help them by going to school a few days before to walk around and figure out where classes are located or see the classroom. Take the unknown away and then there’s nothing to fear.
9. Talk to the teacher about your child’s fears and anxieties. Let them know so they can keep an eye on things and help address things, especially if you’re dealing with a bully situation.
10. Don’t pull your child out of school just because of fears. There are many things in life that will cause fear and we have to handle them. So you need to give your child the tools needed to handle these fears.
Communication is going to be key in making sure your child is comfortable with school. It might take a few days for your child to overcome these fears, so be patient and continue talking to your child and his teacher.
Helping Your Child Make Friends at School
While academics is the most important reason a child goes to school, friendships are important too. And since they’ll have to deal with other people all their life, learning how to make friends at a young age is important.
Whether children are shy or outgoing, they all are going to need help making friends. A child’s social life is very important to him/her. So to make sure they make good friends that will last a lifetime, you will want to give them tips on how to make friends at school.
Seven Ways to Help Your Child Make Friends at School
1. Be a role model for how to treat friends
Show your child that good friendships aren’t about being bossy, but it’s about give and take and compromise. It’s important that children practice taking turns and even losing graciously. So at home spend time playing board games and not always letting your child win.
Empathy is an important social skill which can be taught by example as well. Bringing food to a sick neighbor or visiting an elderly person and bringing your child along to these things will show him or her how to be empathetic towards others.
2. Know your child’s personality
If your child is shy, then you probably can’t expect him to be the leader of the group. But that doesn’t mean he’s unable to make friends. You can help bridge the gap by having playdates in your home for your child. Some kids do well with one or two really close friends while others like large groups. Knowing what your child does best with and not imposing your own preferences on your child is going to be key in making them successful in making friends.
3. Be the house all the kids want to go to
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Just always be open to having kids in your home. You don’t need to provide copious amounts of things to do per se, but just be welcoming of kids in your home and encourage your child to invite friends over.
4. Help your child work through friendship drama
Even the best of friends are not always going to see eye to eye on things. And that’s okay. It’s important that you help your child to see where his friend might be coming from and how to navigate problems effectively.
5. Don’t choose your child’s friends
Let your child pick his friends. Letting your child be friends with children who have different views from you is a great way for him to spread his wings. Whether it’s a different religion or the family has different political beliefs, that’s okay. It is important that your child experience different things and make choices for himself.
If a friendship ever becomes a safety concern, then you should step in, but different points of views and beliefs is not a reason for your child to not be friends with someone.
6. Talk to your child about bullying
Saying nothing is part of the problem and it’s important that your child knows he can come to you if he sees another child being bullied – and especially if he’s the one experiencing the bullying. You can speak to the child’s parents or the school administration if you need to, and work together to resolve these problems.
7. It’s okay to not be a part of the in crowd
You want your child to be himself and not push to be a part of a certain group of friends. Popularity is all relative and it’s not always measured by the number of friends you have. Quality over quantity is a good way to look at things.
For the most part you need to let your child make his own choices when it comes to friendships, but you can give him the tools he needs to be a good friend. And just talking to your child, knowing who his friends are and knowing his friends’ parents will make things a lot easier for everyone involved.
I hope you have enjoyed these back to school tips and make sure you pin this image to keep these in mind all throughout the year.