According to our guide to choosing tuition centres in Singapore, a foundational curriculum focuses on building students’ basic literacy and arithmetic skills. Unfortunately, this foundation can also cause anxiety among very young kids.
There are several types of anxiety seen among preschoolers and even pre-adolescents, and this post can guide you on what to do about school anxiety in children.
Give them a school tour before classes even start
The best preschools in Singapore are usually open for either virtual or actual physical tours before classes even start. If the school you’re eyeing doesn’t offer this, there’s no harm in asking them to accommodate you and your child to lessen their anxiety.
If you have an idea of who their future schoolmates are, arrange playdates with them during the school tour so they can get a feel of what it’s like to have friends in an unfamiliar place.
It’s a practical and effective way to acknowledge potential separation anxiety and fear of the unknown in your young child. A private school is something they’ve probably never heard of before, so it’s up to you to introduce it to them as you did every other thing in their lives thus far.
Play “separation” games with them
Hide-and-seek, peekaboo, and other “separation” games among young kids are designed to introduce to kids the concept of object permanence. It helps them understand that their parents, friends, and other things familiar to them will still be there even when they’re out of sight for a few minutes or hours.
To lessen their anxiety about going to school, make these games a part of their daily kid entertainment. You can incorporate them in outdoor or indoor playgrounds so they’ll get used to you “disappearing” and then reappearing once more.
You can also help your child become comfortable with brief separations from you. So when you leave for work, run errands, or just step out for a bit, say your goodbyes briefly and emphasize that you’ll be back soon.
Role-playing is one of the best kids’ activities to help them become familiar (and even look forward to) going to school with different people.
So let them play teacher-student games in the same way that you’d encourage them to use their toys to act out scenarios as kids’ dentists and doctors. Lessening their social anxiety by teaching them that it’s fine to be around other people is a good first step for them to look forward to meeting teachers and classmates and participating in lessons and other activities.
If your child will be going to an arts-based school, establish a lot of activities meant for artistic people to prepare them. They can do this with other kids like their siblings and friends or with dolls, puppets, and pets.
Have a paediatrician check recurring symptoms
Has your child been complaining of nightmares, tummy aches, dizziness, headaches, muscle pain, or general under-the-weather feelings lately? If it’s happening consistently as their school’s opening approaches, then you might want to have a trusted paediatrician look into these symptoms.
The cause could be anything from general anxiety to something that a child psychologist might have to dig deeper into. Your child could be getting bullied, have a learning disability, or have crippling social anxiety that must be addressed by a professional.
But to be on the safe side, your best bet would be to have qualified paediatricians confirm that there’s nothing physically wrong with them first.