Written by Dana Kerford
The ‘First Day’ of a new experience is nerve-racking for a lot of children and it’s very normal for kids to feel anxiety at these points in their lives. Here are some tips to help your child manage those big feelings inside as they prepare for a fresh start:
- Reframe their perspective and use child-friendly language. “Anxiety” is an adult word that can sound really scary to children. Replace the word “anxiety” with “butterflies”, which we find extremely effective in our Back to School Butterflies workshop. Butterflies are not to be feared and can be set free.
- Name the butterflies. Get them to detail exactly what it is they are nervous about. Write them down.
- Sort the butterflies. Classify the butterflies into two categories: Things You Can Control vs. Things You Cannot Control. For instance, a common butterfly is: “Will my friends be in my class?” Ask your child, “Can you control who is in your class?”
- Release the butterflies they cannot control. Help your child understand that worrying about something that is out of their control is wasted energy. It’s important to release those feelings and trust that life will fall in place the way it’s meant to be.
- Come up with a plan for the butterflies they can control. Talk about ways they can tame the butterflies they have control over. If they’re nervous about what they’re going to wear on the first day, help them figure it out so it’s off their mind.
Working through their butterflies one-by-one empowers children and helps them understand that they are in control of their feelings. Remind them that butterflies are a normal part of life and the importance of viewing them in a positive light. Butterflies come from change and new experiences help us learn and grow!
Dana Kerford is an Elite+ Mompreneur® Member, winner of the 2016 Mompreneurs® Momentum Award, Friendship Expert and Founder of GirlPower & GoodGuys. This article was previously featured on Dana’s website, urstrong.com