By: Jamie Perillo, LPC
It’s that time of year again – to trade in the beach towels for backpacks, lazy summer days for early morning alarms, and the comforts of home and camp friends for new teachers, classmates, and schoolwork. This transition is not easy for many kids. Help your child reduce their anxiety by “creating their team” with a few simple questions.
By creating a “team” of supports your child will feel comforted, confident, and in control. Here are a few questions to help your child choose their team players:
1. Who are your helpers? If you need help with schoolwork, finding something, or just need help who can you ask? Then help them list the appropriate people – perhaps a teacher, principal, nurse, lunch aid, para, or friend.
2. Who are your school work helpers? If you don’t understand something who can you ask?
3. Who are your “fun” team members? Who can you be silly with? (When it’s appropriate) Who can you ask to play with?
4. Who are your lunch team members? Who would you like to sit with if you can?
5. Who are your bus team members? If there’s a problem on the bus who are your helpers?
6. If something doesn’t feel good, who are your helpers? Or if your child has a specific medical condition such as food allergies, asthma, or diabetes – who are their designated helpers?
7. Who are your funny friends? If you need to laugh who can you find?
8. If you are having a difficult feeling – feeling sad, missing mom or dad, worried, or angry or upset about something who is on your team that can help? Perhaps a school social worker, teacher, principal, para, or friend.
9. If someone in school is bugging you who is on your team that can help?
10. When you are ready to kick off your shoes at the end of the day, who on your team can dance, play, or relax with you?
By asking these questions, and helping your child form their team, you are empowering your child and building the confidence they can handle issues as they arise by seeking the appropriate help. This exercise reminds your child they are not alone – in fact they have a whole team of support! Just as parents need that reminder, so do kids. Don’t forget to remind your child they are the captain of their team and they can hire and fire as they choose.