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Dear Anxious Child, Remember This as the New School Year Begins

Summer is coming to a close. The most care-free time in a child’s life. Even when they have anxiety. The sun is warmer, the mood is calmer, the time to play is longer.

In my opinion, that’s the way it’s meant to be for you, all the time. I’m sorry that’s not the case.

But you can do this.

With the end of summer comes the expectation of performance — in school, at home, in relationships.

And you can do this.

When the first day comes around. Remember to breath. Remember you are smart, brave, strong, and able to do what is in front of you.

You can read that book, pass that test, get through that class, and make new friends.

You can do this.

Once that first day passes, remember how you felt, the good and the bad. It will help you get through the rest of the week, then the rest of the month, then the rest of the year.

Remember how it felt to finish that book, even if it was hard. To pass that test, even if it was barely passing. How it felt to make it through that class, when the teacher was tough. To make a new friend, when you thought that you couldn’t.

Remember you did it.

When the hard days come, and you feel like you can’t. When the air seems thick, and it’s hard to breath. When adults don’t give you the time to speak.

Remember you are smart, and your feelings are real.

Remember you are brave, and can speak up for yourself.

Remember you are strong, you will make it through this day.

Remember you are able, to do anything you work hard to achieve.

But most of all, everyday, remember, you can do this.

If you have a child who struggles with anxiety here are some tips to get them through the school year.

  • Be the sound mind when their mind is betraying them.
  • Help them organize and prepare for the day.
  • Teach them self-soothing, like muscle relaxation or breathing (they can do these things anywhere with no attention brought to them).
  • Encourage them to get out and do things, not shy away because of their anxiety.
  • Tell them you have hope for them when they are discouraged.
  • Listen.

Remember, the words that you say, become the small voice in their head that stays with them for their whole life. Make it a positive voice.

Getty image by Bokeshi