7 Ways to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety in Kids
The arrival of a new school year can lead to anxiety in kids. Whether your child is just entering a new grade or a new school, the anxiety can become burdensome and cause a great deal of stress. So how can you as a parent help ease back-to-school anxiety in kids? There are a few ways to make this transition easier. Read these seven tips and see what you can do to make this back-to-school season a more pleasant experience for you and your child.
Start preparing for school several weeks in advance.
About a month before school starts, make sure your child is establishing a healthy bedtime routine. Begin talking about the upcoming school year in a positive way. You can start a countdown chain, if you think it will be helpful, and start establishing household routines that are similar to your school year routines.
Have play dates with school friends.
It is important to connect with friends and classmates over the summer, so children will know familiar faces when they arrive on the first day. Try to get together with friends a few times over the summer months so that kids can develop meaningful friendships and make those personal connections.
Write a letter to your child’s teacher.
Ask the school to forward a letter to your child’s teacher. Have your child write a letter introducing herself and ask a few questions about the new school year. Hopefully the teacher will respond, helping establish a positive relationship and open line of communication. This can help set your child at ease and anticipate the school year more.
Encourage kids to discuss their concerns.
Don’t let kids keep fears bottled up. Create a safe space for them to discuss their concerns, and talk about what is worrying them. If they are more comfortable writing them down, allow them to do that. Let them know you are here to listen to concerns and help them solve any issues they are having.
Don’t minimize concerns.
When your child does share concerns with you, don’t minimize them by saying things like “it will be fine” or “everyone feels that way.” Instead, let them know you are listening, that their fears are valid, and that what they are experiencing is understandable. For the child, their struggle is unique, so it should be treated like a unique circumstance.
Use reassuring words.
Talk about the new school year in positive ways. Don’t tease or make the new school year sound like a burden. Use words like, “I am excited to see the progress you will make this year,” or, “I am so excited to meet the new friends you will make.” Talk about the school year with excitement, and your child is more likely to jump on board.
Check in after the first week.
Take your child to lunch or for ice cream after the first week and see how things are going. See what the child may need help with, check in with the teacher, set up a playdate with a new friend, and send encouraging notes in lunch boxes. This is a great way to keep the positive attitude up and progress towards a stress free year.
As a parent, you no doubt want to do everything you can to make back-to-school season a stress-free experience for your child. Consider these 7 ways to ease back-to-school anxiety in kids and see how they can help kick the school year off to a strong start!