Recently, a question was posed: What do you say when your child says, “I am scared. I don’t want to go to school”?
My short suggestion is:
Empathize and Encourage
The long suggestion is this:
We have been dealing with this every year for the past four years now and let me tell you, it hasn’t gotten any easier!
Here are some tips:
- Stay positive
- Make school sound exciting or remind them of the fun parts. (e.g. recess, lunch, snacks, art, phys ed–whatever your child’s interests are, friends etc.)
- Awknowledge that starting new things is scary for everyone and that is a VERY normal way to feel
- Be empathetic and encouraging, this can be difficult to do
- You could have them create a special imaginary friend in their head who sits on their shoulder to keep them company when they are scared – give them a name, help them create what they look like etc. and brainstorm some things that the friend could say to make them smile or giggle (maybe a joke or two)
- Give your child a special momento to keep in their pocket (a photo of you, a special token – I send a metal angel
I will often say something like this:
“I understand you’re scared to go to Kindergarten because it is something new and you have never done it before. This is a normal way to feel. When I start something new, I am a bit nervous too, but I do some deep breaths and I try to think of things that make me feel happy and before I know it, I am having a wonderful time just like you will!”
You can read more about preparing yourself and your child for Kindergarten on Multi-Testing Mommy:
For All New Kindergarten Moms and Dads
Preparing for Kindergarten
Back to School Shopping
A Kindergarten Visit – Who Needs More Preparation?
Preparing for Kindergarten Part 2
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Aww, I forgot what that can be like.
I have another suggestion too. To make the school seem more friendly and fun make sure to have a few visits to the playground and schoolyard before the year starts. It will feel more welcoming if the child is familiar with the area.
September 8-Kindergarten or higher, I think all Mothers hold their breath all the first day of each school year, wondering how their child(ren) will react to their new environment and teacher. I know I did and so did lots of Mothers I know. I think your advice to enourage and sympathize with them is right on and helps them verbalize their fears. I think “Guppy’s” idea of familariazing them with the playground, etc., if this is first time affair, is a good suggestion as well. el03ro
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