Whenever there is change, anxiety is natural. Back to school time often causes mixed emotions as kids are both excited and anxious about returning to school. Seeing friends, sharing summer stories, and back to school shopping can make the start of the school year fun. On the other side of the coin, many students are also very nervous as the fall semester begins.
Back to school anxieties typically fall into two categories: the “whos” and the “enoughs”. The“whos” are who will be my teachers, who will be in my class, and who will sit next to me at lunch. The “enoughs” are am I good enough to make the team, smart enough to get grades, and cool enough to not be bullied. Kids worry about both social/emotional issues and academics.
Below are a few tips to assist with helping your son or daughter ease back into the school routine and reduce first day jitters.
- Validate your child’s anxiety and listen to their worries.
- If your teen needs to cry, let him; that may be the ticket to feeling better.
- Involve your anxious adolescent in back to school responsibilities. Take them school shopping, discuss schedules, and highlight good things about the first weeks of school.
- Train for the start of school and have your teen practice waking up early to avoid first week crabbiness.
- If you feel the anxiety problem is major, discuss concerns with the school counselors and/or teachers.
- School anxiety should be temporary. If the problem persists, consider professional assistance.
Do you have a good strategy for reducing back to school anxiety, or a good story about how your child made the transition from summer time fun to school time excitement? Please share it.