Ah, the lazy days of summer are over and it’s the official start day for schools. Going back to school can be an exciting but also uneasy time for children and teens. Anxieties can be especially high when the child or teen is transitioning to a brand new school system or a new building (e.g., elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school).
Parents, there are some things to keep in mind to help reduce some anxiety.
- Encourage your child to talk about the new school year including what classes they are excited about and what friends they are happy to see again. Also, ask your child what concerns, if any, they may have after the first few days. To facilitate conversation consider holding the conversation in a place or during an activity that is comfortable for the child or teen (e.g., while eating ice cream).
- Be sure to implement a consistent bedtime routine so mornings go smoother. Also, children should eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Consider implementing a routine including designating a place for backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. to be placed in the evening. Working with your child in the evening to pack lunch and selecting an outfit for the next day can also save time and headaches in the morning.
- Participate in any meet-the- teacher day so you can familiarize yourself with your child’s teacher and classroom/school. These meetings also are a great opportunity to address with the teacher any concerns your child has shared with you during your talks.
It is important to remember that most children will ease into the academic year without major issues. For those children that seem to struggle seek out assistance from the school counselor or, if issues of school avoidance arise, a mental health professional can provide additional guidance.