A Answers (4)
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answeredThe best way to help your child cope with back-to-school anxiety is by being available to listen to his fears and helping him to talk them through. With a younger child, for example, stress the exciting aspects of going back to school, like seeing his friends again and getting involved in after-school activities like sports and clubs. Be clear that going to school isn't negotiable, but then give him some choices related to school: For example, tell him he can pick out a new backpack or opt to bring his lunch to school rather than buy lunch in the cafeteria. If once school starts he doesn't settle in, make an appointment to talk to his teacher to see how he or she might help your child get comfortable in his new classroom.
Tamar Chansky, Psychology, answered
It's often little, fixable things that cause back-to-school anxiety, says psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky, who specializes in anxiety. Watch the video to learn more -- plus ways to help kids get excited about the new school year.
Jennifer Hartstein, PsyD, Psychology, answered
Many kids get nervous before heading back to school, but you can help yours deal with anxiety by preparing her in advance. In this video, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein discusses things you can do to lessen your kid’s back-to-school stress.
Michele Borba, Psychology, answeredMake sure you set aside time to chat with your child about his back to school anxiety. Convey that worries are normal -- other kids have the same back to school anxiety pangs and they usually wade away in a few days. You might share your own back to school worries from "years" ago.
Here are a few tips when you're having those talks:
- Don't trivialize the fear. Keep in mind that as much as your child's worries may seem unrealistic, they are real to him. So don't try to talk your child out of his concerns. Instead, thank him for sharing.
- Find a book to help younger kids open up a dialogue. Read a book to help your child open up her feelings and learn others have similar fears.
- Offer solutions for simpler problems. Here are a few solutions to common kid worries:
"I won't remember the bus number." Solution: Write bus number on index card and pin it to inside of his backpack. Find out if your child's school has practice bus rides.
"I'll have an accident." Solution: Promise to show her the bathroom that is in the kindergarten.
Older kid school worries and solutions:
"I'll get lost: that middle school is so big!" Solution: Promise to walk the path with your child several times until he feels secure.
"The teacher doesn't know I'm allergic to peanuts." Solution: Show the child the notes you wrote to the nurse, secretary and teacher and explain how you will go to the school the date before school starts.
"I won't remember my locker combination." Solution: Have him write the combination on the inside of his backpack with a sharpie pen.
"What if I can't remember which class to go to and the assignments?" Solution: Help your tween pick out a small agenda or organizer book and paste the schedule in the front of the book.
- Share "bigger worries" with the teacher. A parent's military deployment, a job loss, an illness, divorce or a traumatic experience with a bully are the types of issues that could impact your child's learning. Make an appointment to share the information with the counselor and teacher so they can offer support. You'll be much more effective in easing your child's stress by working together as a team.