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How to Deal with Back to School Anxiety

posted: 08/12/15
by: Courtney Reimer
kid and mom as kid is about to get on school bus
iStock

Back to school spells the end of summer, camp and more time with family, so it's understandable that the transition might be a little rocky for kids. Add to that the anxiety of meeting a new teacher, new friends, or even a new school altogether and you very well might have a nervous little kiddo on your hands. Here are some tips for making that first day of school more of a joy than a source of anxiety:

1. Familiarize them with the school as much as possible in advance. Teachers are often at the school in advance of the first day, so see if they'll allow you to swing by and get to know them and the facility. This Huffington Post article even recommends taking a picture of the classroom if you can to help it feel less like a new, strange place.

2. Create a fun countdown calendar. Being able to visualize the arrival of the big day will be helpful for both you and your child. Parenting.com has some fun ideas and templates to work with.

3. Know what to expect. A lot of schools distribute their curriculum or itinerary before the first day, so if you can get your hands on that and talk it over with your kid a bit, it'll be one less unknown going into that new year.

4. Address your own anxiety. "Monkey see, monkey do" is the name of the game for so many kids, so don't be afraid to acknowledge your own anxiety about sending your child off into a new place or a new teacher. Deal with your own concerns, too, so you don't pass them on to your little student.

5. Remind them it might be hard -- but it will get better. To take a line from a recent note Taylor Swift sent to a fan anxious about school starting again: not knowing what's next is frightening, but it's also the "wildest, most thrilling part of life."

A little preparation will go far in helping ease this transition into the new school year -- for both you AND your kids.