24.2 C
New York
Saturday, September 25, 2021

Buy now

My Child is Anxious About Going to Kindergarten

Picture of a boy ready to school isolated on white

Dear Ms. Lydia,

My son turned 5 in June and is starting kindergarten in the fall. He has always been an anxious and shy child, but this seems to be excessive anxiety. He has attended preschool since he was 3, but we enrolled him for the minimum amount of time because he really resisted going to school. Then when COVID hit, he was thrilled to stay home and his preschool never re-opened, so he has been home for a LONG time! We have been talking to him about kindergarten and he is already getting stressed out about it! Do you have any advice?

– Worried in Woodbridge

Dear Worried,

This past year-and-a-half has raised the anxiety level in everyone, so it is understandable that your son is also experiencing stress, not just from starting school but the state of the world and his place in it. Although you mentioned he has always been an anxious child, it is important to note all contributing factors before assigning the cause of his stress strictly to starting school. Have you had the news on when your son was in the room? The news over the past year-and-a-half has been scary and overwhelming for most adults … imagine what those images do to our children and their anxiety level. Have there been any changes in the household? Divorce? Death? Illness? Have any members of your household flip-flopped between working at home and working in the office? This instability in the household can raise your son’s anxiety as well. Identifying some of these external stress factors can help you when talking to your son about how he is feeling. 

Once it is established that his anxiety is focused on starting kindergarten, you can help ease his stress with a few tips:

Establish a goodbye routine.

For example, say goodbye at the same location each day and develop a ritual. Another way is to “give mommy (or Daddy) one more kiss and one more hug and then I will blow one kiss to keep in your pocket”. Predictability is one key to reducing stress … When he can rely on a routine, he has some control over it.
 

Visit the school ahead of time to give him the “lay of the land.”

Many schools do a kindergarten “playdate” or some type of get together before the school year starts. If his school offers this, make sure that you attend. He will get a chance to meet the teacher and meet some new friends. If your school does not do this, make an appointment to visit the classroom. This will help him visualize where he will be during the day, which will ease some stress.

Don’t talk about starting school too much in advance.

This will stretch out the anxiety. Wait until about a month before starting school to discuss it and building it up as a positive experience.

Keep your anxiety in check.


Children are very intuitive, and he will pick up if you are anxious and this will only increase his stress level.

Speak to your child’s pediatrician


if you feel his anxiety is beyond the typical first day of school jitters. You can look for:

  • Physical symptoms like stomachache or headache
  • Nightmares
  • Crying and/or clinginess that interferes with normal activities
  • Bedwetting

Good luck!

Best,

Ms. Lydia

Have a question you want Ms. Lydia to answer in a future issue? Email her at Lydsville2@ca.rr.com

Lydia Smith
Lydia Smith has a degree in Developmental Psychology and was a preschool  owner/director/teacher for 25 years. She is the mother of two adult sons.

Related Articles

How Doulas Support Parents, Before, During and After Childbirth

If you or your partner are expecting a baby, you may want to investigate if the support of a doula is right for your...

ASK MOM: Child Desperate Not to Go Back to School

Child Desperate Not to Go Back to School by Mary Follin and Kristi Crosson THE PROBLEM: My 9-year-old son has always hated going to school. He’s...

Christmas is Coming. Now Let’s Find Those Deals!

While sitting poolside, thinking of ideas for my next column, my thrifty budget-conscious friend curiously asked if I had a list of hidden-gem deals...

Stay Connected

11,622FansLike
0FollowersFollow
2,416FollowersFollow

Sign up today!

* indicates required



FredParent eletters


Latest Articles

How Doulas Support Parents, Before, During and After Childbirth

If you or your partner are expecting a baby, you may want to investigate if the support of a doula is right for your...

ASK MOM: Child Desperate Not to Go Back to School

Child Desperate Not to Go Back to School by Mary Follin and Kristi Crosson THE PROBLEM: My 9-year-old son has always hated going to school. He’s...

Christmas is Coming. Now Let’s Find Those Deals!

While sitting poolside, thinking of ideas for my next column, my thrifty budget-conscious friend curiously asked if I had a list of hidden-gem deals...

Stafford Massage & Healing Arts

Sixty-seven percent of individuals in an American Massage Therapy Association survey said their main reason for getting a massage in the last year was...

How to Raise an Avid Reader

In the current technology age, more kids are flocking to screens for entertainment. While some benefits can come from being able to use different...