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How to Help Your Toddler Overcome Their Anxiety of School

Starting school is a significant milestone for toddlers, but it can also be a source of anxiety for many. As parents, watching your child struggle with nervousness about this new journey can be challenging. However, with the right approach, you can help ease their fears and make the transition to school a positive experience. Here are several strategies you can use to help your toddler overcome their anxiety about school.

Start with Open Conversations

Begin by discussing school in a positive and exciting way well before it starts. Ask your toddler what they feel about school, listen to their concerns, and validate their feelings. It's important to acknowledge their fears and reassure them that it's normal to feel this way about new experiences.

Visit the School Together

If possible, visit the school with your toddler before classes start. Familiarising them with the new environment can help lessen their anxiety. Show them the classroom, play area, and other parts of the school. Meeting their teacher ahead of time can also make the school seem less intimidating and more welcoming.

Read Books About School

There are many children’s books about starting school that can be both educational and comforting. These books often address common fears and showcase the fun aspects of going to school, like making new friends and learning new things. Reading these stories together can help change their perception of school from something scary to something exciting.

Establish a Routine

Children thrive on routine because it gives them a sense of security. Establish a consistent daily routine that mimics the school schedule a few weeks before school starts. This can include the same waking up and bedtime hours, meal times, and activities at the time they would occur during school. This helps reduce anxiety as the school routine will not feel as abrupt.

Play School at Home

Play is a powerful tool for learning and coping. Set up a school play area at home where your child can engage in pretend play. Let them role-play as the teacher or student. This not only familiarises them with school activities but also gives them a sense of control and confidence.

Encourage Social Interaction

If your toddler is not used to being around many children, start organising more playdates or attend group activities. This can help them get used to interacting with peers and develop their social skills, which is crucial for a school setting.

Focus on the Positives

Whenever you discuss school, focus on the positive aspects. Talk about the fun things they will do, the friends they will make, and the new toys and books they will enjoy. Highlighting the positive aspects can make the thought of school more appealing.

Stay Involved

Once school starts, try to be involved as much as possible. Attend school events, volunteer if you can, and stay connected with your child’s teacher. Knowing you're part of their school life provides comfort and reassurance to your child.

Monitor Your Own Behaviour

Children often pick up on their parents' emotions, so it's important to manage your own anxiety about your child starting school. Stay positive and calm when discussing or heading to school, as this confidence can help alleviate your child’s fears.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your child’s anxiety about school persists or worsens, it might be helpful to seek advice from a professional. A paediatrician or a child psychologist can offer guidance tailored to your child’s needs.

Helping your toddler overcome their anxiety about school requires patience, empathy, and sometimes a bit of creativity. By using these strategies, you can help ensure that your child’s introduction to education is as joyful and enriching as possible. Remember, the goal is to build a positive foundation that encourages a lifelong love for learning.


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