It is normal for your child to have some anxiety before their first day of school or even afterwards. It takes time to adjust to the idea of being away from home and loved ones. This is especially true for those who are entering kindergarten or high school or are changing schools.
However, when do these jitters turn into a problem? How do you know if this goes beyond typical anxiety about change?
Here are some signs and symptoms that will help you know when to seek help:
|Having “butterflies” in their stomach upon separation||Consistent complaints of stomachache or nausea upon separation or when anticipating separation|
|Nervous to leave the side of loved one(s)||Excessive worry that something bad will happen to caretakers or themselves if separated|
|Child being sad when parent leaves, usually fading as child grows older or gets more confident||Child throwing tantrums every time parent leaves them, with little to no improvement over time|
|Having some hesitation participating in new activities, such as birthday parties, sleepovers, etc., but ultimately enjoying themselves||Refusal or reluctance to participate in ordinary outings or activities, such as playing with friends, field trips, etc.|
|Occasional nightmares||Trouble sleeping alone, frequent nightmares about separation|
Most children adapt successfully to their new classrooms over time, but some will still be clinging, crying or complaining of physical ailments weeks later. Others may develop anxiety about going to school long after opening day.
In these cases it may be necessary to talk to the teachers and/or principal to see if there is something more going on that is triggering these anxious reactions.
There are qualified professionals who can help your child, you, and the rest of your family find solutions. At Family TLC we believe that successful parenting is a recipe that requires love and knowledge. Learn more about how we can help.