Going to school is such fun! You get to learn lots of new exciting things, play with other children and discover your talents. It’s such a wonderful time – isn’t it?
Well the sad fact is that for many children, going to school isn’t as much fun as you might think. In fact it can be downright terrifying.
Sensitive kids in particular can find their anxiety levels rising when it’s time to go back to school after the holidays. The shift in routines alone can really just be too much to cope with.
For other kids, it may be a social anxiety or a fear of being judged and not liked by other children or teachers, that in more extreme cases can sometimes be diagnised as school phobia.
The good news is that anxiety isn’t as uncommon as you might think, and there are some highly effective ways to deal with it.
So we’ve compiled our top 5 simple DIY tips for beating anxiety and helping your child to have a relaxed and happy back-to-school September…
It may sound obvious, but when the anxiety starts to mount, out breathing becomes shallow or we hold our breath. Reminding your child to breathe deeply, from their stomach can really help when anxiety starts to take hold.
This simple breathing exercise recommended by the NHS, is very easy to do and recommends that you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and gently pause between breaths to help the body’s fight or flight system calm down and prevent a full blown panic attack.
2. Drink some Cold Water
This deceptively simple technique can really help somebody suffering with a panic attack. The simple act of taking a few sips of cold water (preferably refrigerated) can make your body start to calm down from anxiety. We’re not exactly sure why, but this is a simple and tried and tested technique taught by a local counsellor.
Splashing some cold water on your face can help too – but don’t forcibly do this to your child, let them do it themselves if they want to.
3. Use Lavender Essential Oil blends to calm
Lavender is probably everyone’s favourite essential oil and with very good reason! Inhaling lavender can be very calming and helps with anxiety, stress in the daytime as well as not being able to get to sleep at night.
We really like the Chill essential oil pulse point roller and the Calming Lavender Cream by Pure Peace. Or you could just pop some lavender in your oil burner in the morning before school, or if you’re a bit hippy dippy like us and have a car essential oil diffuser, a few drops in there will make the drive to school fly by!
Lavender is suitable for most people, but please do be careful when using essential oils, and if in doubt get some advice from a qualified aromatherapist.
4. Massage your Head
This is a very easy one to do, and handy (if you’ll pardon the pun) because you don’t need anything but your hands!
Gently massaging the scalp for a few moments can help relieve anxiety and help put your child into a more relaxed and positive mood ready for ther day. This is a great one because kids can learn to do it for themselves and on each other (and on Mum too…ahhh!)
According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, massage can decrease cortisol levels by as much as 31 percent and increase serotonin by 28 percent, and dopamine by 31 percent.
5. Help your child offload at the end of the day
Talking about your problems and worries can be challenging, especially for kids who may struggle to put their feelings and thoughts into words at the best of times.
Not being able to talk about your feelings doesn’t mean you have nothing to say!
A Worry Eater toy is a really clever way to help your child offload their worries by writing, drawing or making something to represent what is making them anxious.
At bedtime, your child simply puts what they have written, drawn or created into the Worry Eater‘s mouth, zips it up and as if by magic – it’s gone!
Mum and Dad can then empty the Worry Eater‘s tummy out at night so it’s empty in the morning – a bit like the tooth fairy but taking away worries instead of teeth!
This is really handy too, because it will give you an insight into what is worrying your child if they haven’t been able to tell you. And once you know what the problem is, you’ll have a better chance of helping your little one overcome it. A great help for non-verbal children!
This is far from an exhaustive list, and there are lots of other things that can help kids with anxiety including exercise, yoga and CBT or Cognitive Bahavioural Therapy.
CBT is easy to learn and gives your child skills that last a lifetime. Have a quick look through the Book section of the Sensory Smart Store for more information and ideas!
So here’s to a worry-free September for you and your little ones, wishing you happy back-to-school times and lots of fun – without the anxiety!