Summer holiday’s – no thought of school? Probably not!
(Prefer to watch the video? Click here)
It’s coming to the end of term and there are many parents out there who are heaving a huge sigh of relief at leaving all the stresses of this term behind. There have been a lot of exams, children are getting tetchy and nervous about what is going to happen next year and feeling hot in the summer sun.
I have had a few chats with parents recently whose children are suffering with school related anxiety. A common thread I’ve noticed is that people are saying ‘we won’t deal with it over the summer” or , “we’ll wait until the children are ready to go back to school” or “I want them to forget about these problems over the summer holidays’. Well to be honest they are not going to forget. What’s actually going to happen over the summer, is the anxiety is going to build up. Yes, they will have fun, yes, they will be doing things where they can relax with their friends but when they go to bed at night or when they are sitting and just thinking about things issues will be popping back in their head and they will start to countdown the days before term starts with trepidation, which is not ideal.
It’s a little bit like that “Sunday night feeling”, you know the one you have when you’re doing a job you hate and you start counting down the hours until Monday morning. Before I started working with children, parents and schools, I used to hate my job. The “Sunday night feeling” started around 7 in the evening and would continue until I was an hour or so into my day at work on a Monday. Each week the feeling increased until it was no longer reserved for the evening, I would have it the whole day. Do you know that feeling? Imagine for your child that same feeling is not just reserved for a Sunday, it’s increasing week by week, day by day as the time bomb towards school ticks away more and more loudly.
Another reason that parents say to me that they don’t want to deal with the anxiety beforehand is that they want to leave it until just before they go back to school so that it is fresh on their mind. I consider this a little like cramming for an exam. What do you think will happen to their anxiety levels? Basically what you are saying is that you would like your child to have lots of fun but then all of a sudden they have to learn some tools that they can go back to school with and start to implement straight away. All this is new information they have learned which hasn’t had time to assimilate yet in their brains, they haven’t had time to really think about it or to practice using it. That’s quite a task for them to take on and do it well.
Alternatively, what you can do is to arm your child with the information and support now. Get them learning these tools and techniques either before they breakup from school or during the summer holidays so that they are practicing the things they are learning while they’re feeling relaxed and when they’re having fun because all the tools and techniques that help them to deal with anxiety and to build confidence can be done at any time not just during the school term. They can be used with friends; in fact they are better practiced with friends when you are feeling more relaxed.
It is quite counter intuitive to cram these great learning in at the end of term and expect your child to feel relaxed and confident about going back to school and into a new year.
I have just been working with a young boy who was suffering quite badly with school related anxiety and he was being bullied at school. We have spent 3 weeks together and in just 3 weeks he is now armed with all the tools that he needs to go deal with the issues he’s been having at school. He has already made massive headway in doing that but what is does means as well is that he can practice all of these techniques over the summer holiday. He is going to come for a top up just before he goes back to school as he may still be a little nervous about going back to school after the holiday. It will however literally be a top up, just putting a few things in place and reiterating some of the techniques he has learned already so that he feels really confident when he goes back. He is going to be practicing everything we have covered together over the summer holiday while he is feeling relaxed and having fun with his friends and family.
You too could work with your children to help them beat anxiety and build confidence in themselves and their abilities. Most of the parents signed up to the club tell me the tools and techniques really help them too. As you get the videos and worksheets delivered straight to your mailbox you can work through them at your own pace and you get the optional benefit of chatting to other like minded parents in the Facebook group.
In the mean time you could download our free ebook to help your child overcome anxiety.
Have a brilliant last few weeks of term, I hope it’s lots of fun especially with the sunshine we have that at the moment. See you soon.