The body "feels" the same if you are anxious or if you are excited. It's the mind that "tells" us the difference. Clarify these "feelings" for kids.
So, if your child is a fairly competent student, socially and academically, they are feeling excitement about the "new-ness" of the school year. It's a completely different story if they have "issues" left over from June. What to do? They might be ready to tell you about that "something" that happened at the end of the year that's making them anxious versus excited.
Avoid telling them they'll be "fine". "Fine" suggests that "everything is alright" when it might not feel "alright". Language is everything. Tell them you have confidence that they can "handle this"...that's "code" for "coping". Remind them of previous times when they had challenges and got through it. Nothing breeds success like success, but you've gotta have a plan.
Give them ways to solve the problems...maybe they need to take extra lunch money, know where the bathroom is, write your phone number in their lunchbox or tuck something into their backpack that reminds them that you are there with them in your hearts. Give them something to share with a school pal to revive a "before summer" friendship. Determine the "one thing" that's on their mind and problem-solve it.
If possible, make arrangements for them to have someone to sit with at lunch or play with at recess. Have a friend or "potential friend" over several days before school starts so that the relationship can be renewed and so that the "friend candidate" has positive feelings about your child.
If your child has learning issues, get started on determining the plan. Do they have an IEP or a Section 504? Find out when services start and who is responsible for delivering them. In the meantime, write the teacher a brief note outlining the problems and ask how you can help right from the "get go". Having an extra set of classroom books at home will help you to see "what's next" and be able to review "coming attractions". More about these ideas in later blogs!
Right now, settle in and get the "lay of the land" so that you can actively problem-solve.
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