Keep calm and carry on
Sometimes school can seem overwhelming. Your child might come home anxious after a disappointing test result, a schoolyard squabble or even a lost library book.
Here are some techniques you can do with them to help calm them down:
Discuss the problem
If your child walks in the front door upset, the first thing to do is find out what has happened to upset them. Sit down with them and keep eye contact. Let them talk and try not to interrupt. If your child is upset, even if it is about something that seems trivial to you, let them know that you care that they are upset. Name the feeling they are expressing. For example, ‘I can see that you are feeling disappointed that you were not picked in the team’.
Now your child has shared with you the reason behind their anxiety, help them to calm down. This breathing method will replenish their oxygen. Ask them take a deep slow breath and hold it while you count to five. Then ask them to exhale slowly through their mouth. Repeat this five times.
Once your child is feeling calm, it is time to work out ways to deal with the issue. Encourage them to think of solutions for themselves, and suggest some of your own. If they are upset about a test result, talk about how tests just let you know how well you are going at one point in time and discuss ways your child could improve in that area. If your child has had an argument with a classmate, discuss ways to resolve conflict and perhaps suggest other friends they could socialise with.
Most importantly explain to your child that you understand why they are upset, and that you are there to help them get through this tough time. If your child needs extra support at school to get through the issue, contact your child’s teacher to work out a possible solution.
If your child has experienced a significant traumatic event, there are many services out there to support. You can contact eheadspace (call 1800 650 890) or Kids Helpline (call 1800 551 800). Each service provides private and confidential telephone and online counselling services to young people and their families.