Nearly 18 million children suffer from anxiety and now that we are going back into the school year, many children are being challenged emotionally, academically and socially. Marcie Fraser has more.
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A child's first day of school can be overwhelming.
"It's important to let the children know that so many children are going through right now and it's going to be a great learning experience and I am so excited to hear about it at the end of the day," said Dr. Allen Stefane.
Fear causes the anxiety.
Stefane said, "Kids will be thinking, 'what if I get lost, what if I can't find the bathroom, what if mom disappears and doesn't come back to get me.’ Lots of irrational fears. That won't last long once they establish themselves in school and making friends."
Don't let things snowball, be prepared for the old 'mom, I have a stomach ache and can't go to school.'
"Parents need to be consistent. They need to be calm and patient and need to be firm about it. We are going to get from point A to point B, school is going to start, school is going to be a great adventure, you are going to learn wonderful things and you are going to come home and tell me about them but it's not an option. There is nothing to be afraid of. All the children in the neighborhood are going to school and you are going to fit in just like the rest of them. Giving them lots of reassurance, I will be here when you get home," Stefane said.
Reduce the stress by getting the kids on a bed-time school schedule days before school starts and once it does begins, quickly establish a routine of getting ready for school the night before and parents, if you are having anxiety about your child going off to school, don't let the kids see it.
"Check your own emotions, think about what you are expressing on your face because if a child recognizes face is fear or anxiety in moms face, they are going to react so quickly," said Stefane.
And if after a few days your little tyke’s anxiety isn't waning, before it turns into weeks and weeks, you may want to seek out professional help. Start with the child's teacher and seek support from the guidance counselor if needed.