Heading back to school is an exciting time. New friends, new teachers, new things to learn, and often brand new clothes! While getting back into the swing of things at school is a time for adventure, it can also be a time of great fear for many young people. The transition from summer fun and freedom to routines and homework can manifest in anxiety for many children. Whether it’s general nervousness or a larger sense of dread, there are things you can do as a parent to help. The Kidoodle.TV team has assembled three tips to help your children rock their first day of back to school!
1. Remember to Listen
This sounds like a pretty obvious tip but it’s definitely worth remembering. At the end of the school day, ask your children about their thoughts and feelings and why they might be feeling the way they do. Don’t settle for a simple, “I don’t know” or “just ‘cuz”. Look for specifics and keep asking until you’re able to get them. Reassure your children that it’s okay to feel the way they do, and let them know that if they can help to identify what they’re most worried about then you can help them problem-solve.
2. Remind Them of Positive Experiences
It’s easy to forget about some of the great experiences your children may have had in previous years. If you’re noticing them feeling nervous about going back to school, remind them of some of the successes they had last year. Spend time talking through the parts of school they like and what they have to look forward to. Make sure to lead the conversation in a way that allows your children to do most of the talking. Letting your children come to positive realizations and possible solutions to worries on their own gives them more ownership over the solutions.
3. Talk to Their Teachers
It’s important to remember that there are many people who are allies for your children. Consider having a quick chat with teachers early in the school year to let them know what your children are experiencing. This can be a great way to engage teachers and allow them to be an extra set of eyes in the classroom. Teachers can also help your children ease into the new year, allowing them time to overcome their feelings. While this is a great way to help, remember to also respect your children’s privacy and only let the teacher know in general about their feelings without going into too much detail.
While these are great tips to help your children with those back to school nerves, if you notice that nerves persist or are get worse, it could be something that requires more attention. If you notice a child refusing to do what they normally do, if you’re seeing an increase in anxiety before bed, or if they are actively refusing to go to school, then there may be something more happening. Consider contacting a professional or seeking out more information through various organizations including ones like WorryWiseKids.org.
What are the main reasons why your children get nervous for their first day back to school? Do you have advice for easing them back into school?
~ Alicia & Jeremy