Supporting children to manage worries when starting school 

The New Year has started and as parents and caregivers this may turn to thoughts of how children will accept their new or continuing school environments. 

It is normal at times for our little ones to experience worries when separating from us or an attachment figure at school when starting school for the first time or starting at a new school. 

Worry looks different for each child and can include, being clingy or teary when separating from you at drop off, being angry and sharing worry when driving towards school, struggling with their learning at school or struggling with friendships. 

This worry may be due to your child experiencing separation anxiety or attachment distress when at school. 

When working with your child's school to address their worries three steps to strengthen their security in the school environment could include: 

  1. Identify an adult in the school that your child can go to if they need support or to be nurtured by someone 
  2. Establish a plan for how your child will access their support if needed 
  3. When your child finds them the adult needs to be prepared to provide support and nurture them in that moment 
  4. Plan a check in with the identified adult at your child's school to check in on your child's progress 

Active efforts to support a coordinated approach to providing targeted, compassionate and nurturing support to your child at school when experiencing attachment distress has the potentially to actively reduce your child's biological stress reaction and improve your child's capacity to engage in learning and form lasting friendships. 

If your child is experiencing attachment distress and you are looking for support or guidance- firstly talk with your child's school or please talk with your GP who can refer you to a psychologist for support. 

We Care NSW can facilitate access to psychological supports by calling 02 4013 6079.

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