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Recognizing Anxiety

I have talked before about students who seem to go off the rails at the end of school. This often occurs before other major holidays: Christmas, March Break, or modified year school breaks. Why does this happen?

Well, school is a routine. It is structured. Kids can usually expect the same schedule, the same people, and the same classmates. Having a break from this, in any way is upsetting for some kids. Speak to any Supply Teacher! They know that some kids immediately act up, just knowing that their teacher is away. Even, when they say don't really like their teacher!

It is change. Any change. For some kids, it upsets their whole sense of expectation, of what comes next. They assume that the new person won't 'get' them, and won't 'understand' them. And, kids don't have too many choices about what is going to happen.

For breaks, our kids may have to go to new babysitters, or spend time alone, or with siblings who are bossy, or who actually bully them. Even when parents make arrangements for interesting day camps, it is a whole new situation. How about giving some choice to the child, no matter how small? When you go to the daycare, which toy/game/book are you planning to take? Let's make a list of snacks for each day of the week to take to camp.

Recognizing, naming and dealing with the anxiety of transitions is crucial. As parents and teachers, we need to take some time to talk about how to deal with new situations, and the feelings they evoke. We are all nervous starting something new--ask my husband! He knows when there is a change for me on the horizon! But, for kids, they really don't have a lot of control in their lives--and it will pay big dividends if we have a heart-to-heart with our students, with our sons and daughters when there are changes coming up.

What are you thinking will happen next week?
Who will you miss? What can we do about that?
How can we prepare you so that you aren't so nervous? Should we take a drive out to the camp?
Would you like to see some photos of the  . . .
Let's look at the web site for some of the activities that are at you new daycare/camp/summer school.
What are you going to do to help yourself stay calm?