How to tackle ‘end-of-school-year’ anxiety

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You’d be amazed at how many kids are upset that the school year is finishing. And rightfully so, because they had a daily routine and a social life that is abruptly ending. And the following school year will be different with different kids and a different classroom lifestyle.

There are many reasons for ‘end-of-school-year’ anxiety:
Winding down process in schools
Children love repetition and routine, even though it is indeed a herculean task to get them out of bed and to school each day. With the last month approaching before the end of the school year, schools start the winding down processes. There are final class tests, some outdoor activities, school trips, class parties and more. All of this sort of sets the stage for the child to fell that everything is now finishing.

Sudden shift in social life
Children form close bonds with friends and classmates throughout the school year. When the school year ends, many of these friends travel, move away or even sometimes change schools. The fact that they can’t see their friends daily can be quite overwhelming for kids and they sometimes act up by crying or screaming a lot.

Change of school level or grade
Children enjoy a lot at school, but when it ends for that school year, they suddenly realise that the next year may not be the same. Maybe the same kids are not in their class and form. The teacher is different and they miss their instructors. Kids who move from Elementary to Middle school or Middle school to High school, can have separation anxiety from friends who may be moved to a different school.

The ending of the routine and the anticipation of a new one can be quite an apprehensive scenario for a child. So, what can we as parents do to help?

Maintain a holiday routine
Try to plan a holiday routine during the same school time at least for the first few days after school. This helps a child feel secure.

Go on a holiday
Going on family holiday right after school closes can help the whole family reset for the holidays and helps kids wind down.

Keep friendships as much as possible
If your child has a best friend in school, try to keep the friendship throughout the holidays. This helps the child understand that even though school has ended, friendships don’t. It also teaches kids to invest in and maintain relationships.

Connect with the teacher
For kids who love their teacher, it’s best advised to write back or send a post card from your holiday destination to them. If you know who the new teacher is, it’s also fun to start a relationship with her by writing in to her. In this way, kids won’t feel that everything is new in the new school year and classroom. Familiarity is best introduced in small doses and build long-lasting relationships.

Listen and be there
Affirm your child’s emotions and speak to them about how they feel. Letting out their emotions can be the best way to ease out of anxiety. Assure them that the new school year will be just as wonderful.