Self-talk was key in helping Tom manage his back-to-school anxiety.
Self-talk is rehearsing silently something that you think someone you trust would say to you in a situation you find tricky or challenging. Being able to self-talk is useful as it is something a child can do to help themselves. It has been a game-changer for Tom as he can use this whenever he is feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s get started
You can use this Prompt Sheet to help your child develop self-talk to manage their back-to-school anxiety.
- Let your child know that lots of people are anxious about going back to work or school. This helps them feel that their worries about going back to school are valid.
- Give your child the words to describe their feelings. Introducing and explaining the phrases ‘back to school blues’ and the ‘oh no feeling’ help them understand the emotion and feeling behind their back-to-school anxiety.
- Ask your child to show you how strong their ‘oh no feeling ‘is. If they struggle with language try simple visual scales using either numbers ( 1-5) or the intensity of colours (green – red) to make it easier for them to rate their feelings. The TomTag feelings tag, a thermometer-style sequence of 6 feelings faces, is a good option to use.
- Explain that their ‘oh no feeling’ is the right feeling but too big. Like a shout that needs to be shrunk to the right size – a whisper. The drawings on the Prompt Sheet are a good way to show this
- Tell them that to shrink the ‘oh no feeling’ they should think of 3 good reasons why going back to school is ok and say these reasons to themselves when they feel the ‘oh no feeling’ starting
Rating anxiety levels
Tom used his I can do it Share How I feel Tag to show us the intensity of his feelings about going back to school.
If you have any tips to share on reducing back-to-school anxiety please leave a comment below.