It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious and worried at times of transition, and for Allergy families this can be starting school for the first time, starting at a new school or beginning high school. My advice is be well prepared. Call the school ahead of time and liaise directly with your child’s teacher, the one person who will be looking after your child every day. If you have concerns about how your child will cope and feel you need extra support, you can get in touch with a Year Coordinator, Deputy Principal or School Psychologist depending on what the issue might be. Don’t be afraid to bring it up early, rather than waiting until something becomes a bigger issue.
Things to take and discuss, before school commences:
- Anaphylaxis Plan
- EpiPen, Antihistamine
- Safe food (in the event of food brought into school for birthdays etc)
- Discussing the management of food related subjects. This can begin as early as Kindy – well, so we found out! Our son did cooking in Kindy so it was important to discuss the management of this.
If you think the feelings for yourself or your son/daughter are are all a little bit overwhelming (and that’s OK too!) then it can be helpful to discuss it with a professional. Many people are not aware that Mental Health Care Plans are available from your General Practitioner for children, teens and adults. A Mental Health Care Plan entitles someone to up to 10 sessions, which is Medicare rebated. Sometimes it may only take a few sessions to get on track, which means at a later date if you need them, you can still access the remaining sessions.
A few tips on preparing a young person at times of transition:
- Be and remain positive – your language filters down to your children. Try to talk positively about the plans you have made, that you have chatted with their teacher and how exciting it will be to make this new change. If you feel confident about the change, they are more likely to follow suit.
- Ask them if they are worried or have any concerns about anything – it doesn’t matter how small. Better to get it out and managed before the change. Kids don’t want to worry parents sometimes, so it’s good to get their perspective rather than assuming what’s going on in their head. Equally, you might be surprised that they are in fact, Ok.
- Tell them it’s OK to feel a little nervous and that most kids, leading up to a big change, feel the jitters. Even if they don’t say it, or show it. And, once you have been in the swing of things and a routine sets in after a few weeks, the jitters ease.
Wishing all Allergy Families a wonderful start to the 2017 school year. 🙂