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Helping Your Child Overcome His/Her Fears About The First Week of School

Do you remember your first day of school? You have great memory if you do. For most of us, it is hard to member how we felt when we took our first steps because we were little. I don't even remember what I wore last Sunday, LOL. But even when I don't recall that moment of walking into school for the first time, I believe the feelings must have been a mixture of wonder, fear, and excitement. Why do I think this? Because these are the same feelings we keep experiencing every time we start something new, or we dare to broaden our horizons, and every time we dare to do something we've never done before.

Those three feelings, wonder, fear, and excitement are powerful; they can be the fuel that drives you into trying something new or something different, but they can also be the reason that paralyzes you or the cause for making the wrong decisions. Especially fear, because even when it is a normal feeling, sometimes fear can get irrational and hard to control. This uncontrolled fear may be the source of most of our missed opportunities. When fearfulness becomes an obstacle instead of a motivating force, we lose feelings of excitement and wonder. We end up losing the chance to demonstrate that we can do it.

This week, our children will be starting a new academic year. For some, this will be an entirely new adventure, a new beginning since they've never experienced a school environment. For others, it means new friends and teachers to adapt to. But no matter if they are new or returning students, they all may feel a bit anxious, nervous, or worried. Aware of this, here are some tips on how to make this new beginning an easy one for your child:

1. Validate their feelings.- Tell them it is perfectly normal to feel anxious or have concerns.

2. Encourage them to share their feelings with you.- During the first week of school, take time after and before the school day to talk to them about their feelings and concerns.

3. Provide them with examples of different situations they may encounter.- You can role-play different situations with your child and help them plan and feel more confident to handle the situation.

4. Focus on the positives.- Encourage your child to focus on the positive aspects and the things they liked about school instead of focusing on the worries and negative parts.

5. Be an example of calmness- If your child sees you worried or concerned, this will make them more preoccupied and increase their worries.

6. Reassure them.- Be supportive and cheer them. You can put encouraging messages in their lunchbox and make their day special.

7. Ask for help.- Our teachers are prepared to deal with separation anxiety. Let your child's teacher know, and they will help them to overcome their fears.

Remember, it is perfectly normal to feel worried or afraid when we face unknowns but be on the lookout for behaviors that suggest excessive fear or anxiety. If you see this behavior in your child, we encourage you to tell your child's teacher and seek help. Children are at different stages; not every child is prepared to deal with anxiety. It is why it is vital to be vigilant and identify the stressors so you can work with them to overcome them. We hope these tips help and that your child has a great start to the school year. Remember, at VPS, we are a family. We are here for the well-being of our warriors, so feel free to reach out!

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