Slowly, please. Thank you!
Many children are worried about their first day of school, and for reasons we don’t understand, some children are not fearful or resistant. But it is perfectly normal for children between the age of 5 and 8 to be ask questions and feel afraid. Children communicate their fear in different ways. Fear and resistance over going to school is especially common during kindergarten, when children change teachers or classrooms, and when they are going to a new school. I don’t feel good."
"I want my Mommy."
"I don’t want to go to school."
"Why do I have to go?"
Children resist going to school for several reasons.
They are afraid to leave their parents.
They are afraid of the unknown.
They are afraid of what others children will do.
Or, they are strong willed and have oppositional tendencies.
Oppositional kids are naturally resistant to guidance and direction. How can parents respond to the fears of young children? Here are some ideas.
Get Advice And Support. Talk to other parents about their experience, what you can expect and how they handled their kids.
Talk To Your Child. Talk to your child several times about going to school in advance. You should do this even after school starts. Listen and be interested in what they tell you. Stay calm, give them information about what will happen, share your initial fear and your positive experiences when you first went to school. Tell them you understand how they feel, but don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel that way. Sometimes children just need to think out loud and their fear will eventually fade.
Read A Children’s Book. Read a book to your child about going to school. You will learn a lot and help your child feel understood and less afraid. You may even remember you’re your own childhood.
Draw a Story. Even if you are not artistically inclined, you might consider drawing pictures with your child and creating a story that describes what happens at school. The story should include walking them to their first class, hugging goodbye, classroom activities, making friends, school projects, coming to pick them up and telling what they did when they come home.
Get To Know The School. Take your child to visit their school one or two times at least a few days before school officially starts. Most schools have a pre-school day where parents can come to school, met their teacher and be with their child. Bring a snack and have some fun on the playground.
Expect Physical Complaints. Keep in mind that some children will express their fears in familiar and safe words like "my stomach hurts." This is perfectly normal. Look them over and check their temperature even if you don’t believe them. These are important comforting behaviors that can be reassuring to your child. Take them to school if you think they are well.
Written by Michael G. Conner