ALL TALK: Asking gentle 'how' and 'what' questions can show kids you're interested and help them open up about any struggles they are having.
ALL TALK: Asking gentle 'how' and 'what' questions can show kids you're interested and help them open up about any struggles they are having. MoMorad

How to tune into your child's nerves

THE first day of school is one that can bring on tantrums and tears, but psychologists say it is important to stay in tune with children's emotions as they start the new year.

Stepping through the school gates and into a new term can be a challenging time for kids, with lots of changes like new teachers, classmates and textbooks.

Local psychologist Mark Cary said the start of school could create a number of anxieties for children, and the signs could be tricky to spot.

"It can be a difficult time for kids," he said.

"Sometimes children are worried about whether they can manage the work that year and it can be daunting, particularly as they go into higher grades.

"Others may be worried about relationships if there has been conflict in previous years."

Mr Cary said parents should be on the lookout for changes in behaviour and personality in their children, as they may be suffering from anxiety.

"It can be hard to detect, but signs that kids are stressed or anxious may be that they are a little more withdrawn or don't have as much energy as they used to have," he said.

Other signs include kids going off their food, seeming more on edge and keeping to themselves.

Mr Cary said communicating with children was the most important way parents could help their child deal with back to school nerves.

He recommended picking a time when kids were attentive and engaged to gently ask them how things were going in specific areas of their lives.

USQ psychology lecturer Dr Crystal McMullen said parents could help their children get ready for school by involving them in the lead up.

"Things like bringing them along to pick their own lunch boxes, driving past the school and just talking about school on a regular basis helps get children more psychologically ready."

"It's also important to not make a massive deal out of it."



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