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Tips To Ease Back-To-School Anxiety

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Starting school for the first time or going to a new school can be an intimidating experience for any child.  A new schedule and new friends is overwhelming and can lead to anxiety and stress.  We’ve got a few tips and reminders to help make the transition from summer at home to back to school a successful one.

  • Reassure your child that school will be exciting and fun.  Talk with your child about how much fun they are going to have and all the new friends they will make.  If you have older children, have them encourage their younger siblings.  Take plenty of time at orientation to tour their new school, to help remember teacher’s faces and recognize the classrooms, etc.
  • Help your child develop a positive attitude by setting goals. For older elementary and middle school-age children, starting the year off with the right attitude is crucial. Help cultivate positive thoughts by asking your child to name one goal they have for their new school year, and then discuss how they can achieve that goal.
  • Start to prepare early:  Establish early bedtimes and shop for school supplies in advance.  Establishing a new sleep schedule will be much easier to manage if you start a few weeks in the summer before school starts.  Your kids will be well rested and ready to take on the day at school after getting a great night’s sleep.  Also, include your kids in school supply shopping.  Get them excited by letting them pick out their new book bag and stock it full of fun (and useful) items such as colorful pencils and notebooks.  This will help to build positive anticipation for the coming school year.
  • Encourage your child to build relationships with their teacher and other students.  If you notice that your child is not comfortable with their teacher, don’t wait to make the teacher aware of the situation.  A great teacher will pay close attention to your child or give them a special classroom job to help them feel included and important.  Ask your child who they enjoy hanging around with at school and invite those friends over with their parents for ice cream after school.  This gives kids an opportunity to bond outside of school (and allows you to meet other parents).
  • Build in some special time before and after school. Cook breakfast together, watch a favorite TV show, or read a book before heading off to school.  Doing an activity together will calm nerves.  When you are both at home in the afternoon, encourage your child to tell you about their day.
  • Arrive a few minutes early for pickup.  Not seeing you immediately after school could cause unnecessary anxiety.
  • Be on alert for any signs that your child is not transitioning well.  While most back-to-school jitters are gone within a few weeks, there could be underlying issues causing your child not to enjoy school.  Offer positive stories about new experiences at school and reach out to their teacher, administration and other parents for support.

 We hope these tips will help you and your family transition from summertime fun to back to school activities!  

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