Five Ways to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety

Five Ways to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety


Returning to school each September can bring many different emotions for different children. Most children experience a combination of excitement and uneasiness, but some children experience an above average degree of anxiety.  Reasons for this anxiety may include apprehension about a new class or teacher, concern over making new friends, or even imagined fears that feel very real to the child.

There are some things that parents can do to help ease their child’s fears and begin the school year on a positive note.

  1. Talk to your child. Allow him to express his feelings. Be supportive and encouraging. Talk about past successes in handling new or uncomfortable situations.
  2. Visit the school and meet your child’s teacher. Many schools will have a “Meet the Teacher” night or an Open House prior to the first day of school. If your school doesn’t offer this, call the office to arrange a tour of the school. Seeing the classroom, lunchroom, and bathrooms can be helpful in lessening anxiety.
  3. Start a school routine a week or two before the first day of school. Re-establish routines that may have been lost over the summer (i.e. early bedtimes and wake up times).
  4. Send a family picture or note with your child on the first day of school. This can be a great comfort to children who experience separation anxiety. If your child is older, it might be fun to write her a note in a secret code and tell her how to decode it. Feeling that love and support from home throughout the day can be very helpful for children when faced with new situations.
  5. Say goodbye and go. This is a tough one, especially when children are very young and cry at drop off. Remind your child that you (or someone else) will be there to pick him up at the end of the day. If he cries, try to remain upbeat and positive, console him, but do not stay longer than a few minutes. Make sure to say “goodbye” to your child rather than sneaking off while he is distracted.
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