School is starting. It should be a happy time but can also present worries and fears. Start the school year with confidence; be aware of problems that could arise and how talk to your adult children and your grandchildren about them. Grandparents can help keep our children safe and healthy.
What school-year fears should you truly worry about?
1.If your grandchild complains of headaches, stomachaches and nausea before leaving for school or throws a tantrum each morning she may be experiencing school refusal disorder. Allowed to stay home, the symptoms rapidly disappear, only to reoccur the next day. Some children refuse to leave the house or at school repeatedly ask for the school nurse. It can be triggered by other stressful events (a move, divorce, or worry about a parent); children ages 5-6, and 10-11 most often experience this because of transitions—entering school for the first time or moving up to middle and high school. It affects 2-5 percent of school-age children. Dr. Daniel Pine of the National Institute of Mental Health advises a comprehensive eval done by a mental health professional. This can reveal the reasons for school refusal and what treatment is best. Keep the child in school as absence reinforces anxiety. If you think your child might experience this, introduce school in small degrees, viewing the classroom and meeting the teacher before school begins. Create a support group at school—counselor, school RN—make them aware. Talk with the child about feelings and fears and always emphasize the positive elements of school: friends, recess and favorite subjects.
2.Your child can be a super athlete or just part of a gym class and experience a concussion. Christopher Nowinski of Sports Legacy Institute states that concussions occur in nearly 50% of those playing contact sports and in 20% of those in other sports. You can let your grandchild play sports, making sure they wear the proper protection—but make sure to combine that with education. Know the symptoms of a concussion: headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech and often temporary loss of consciousness. No matter what the coach says, your grandchild needs to be seen by a medical professional when experiencing these symptoms.
3.It may not have affected your family yet, but bullying can raise its ugly head. Teachers and parents are more aware now, but one in four kids will be part of bullying whether as perpetrator or victim. Psychology professor Susan Swearer encourages us to know whom our kids are talking to on the net. And we should talk openly about bullying—ask questions and look for signs that there is a problem: not wanting to go to school, depression, headaches and anxiety.
4.And in this time of gun shootings and weather disasters, find out what emergency preparedness plans your child’s school offers. Speak to your school administration. Maybe your school needs to start a program. The state of California requires that all public schools, K-12, have such a plan. Don’t hang back.
What school-year fears should not be such a big deal?
1.Though parents and grandparents often go crazy when they think about head lice, and though doing laundry and applying the medicine is disruptive, head lice can be easily treated with no permanent harm occurring. The CDC estimates that 6-12 million children, ages 3-11 get lice each year. (Check out this link for specific info about signs and treatment.) To prevent head lice advise your child to not share hats or combs and avoid head to head contact if possible. Parents and grandparents can do regular head checks on their children, and it’s a good idea to do so after an overnight or campout.
2.Today most schools are very aware that children can have occasional incontinence. This can happen for so many reasons: unfamiliarity with handling bathroom visits when adjusting to school; being afraid to ask for bathroom permission in front of peers or because a teacher is strict about hand-raising. It might help to discuss this with your child before school starts. And for even more confidence, tuck a change of clothing into your child’s backpack.
3.As the flow of the school year begins, parents and grandparents often are greeted with a bad grade. This isn’t something to fear and get upset about says psychologist Stephanie Mihalas, but to view as adjustment to school. Don’t become upset and start making up a bunch of rules. Let your child work through this and be helpful and positive.
4.Finally, be prepared for first-day jitters. Again how parents and grandparents approach the issue is key to how children will respond. If you need to cry because your last twig is going to Kindergarten, do it out of his sight. Meet-the-teacher night or a visit to the school before the first day, again helps set expectations, relieves fears and makes the first day of school one of fun and excitement. And Grandparents, you can be a big part of knowing how to handle school-year fears.
PS Make sure that your grandchildren are immunized from whooping cough and other highly contagious diseases. Read my post and see what shots college freshmen should have.
Thanks to Jessica Ogilvie, LA TIMES
Thanks to Google Images