Back to school can be an exciting and anxious time for our kids. After summer holidays, they are not always eager to get back into the school routine. Even being excited to see friends they haven’t seen since the end of the last school year can add stress. For some, toss a new school into the mix, and, well, you get the idea.
We want our children to have positive experiences at school. We also don’t want them to feel overly anxious and nervous. So, how do we help them ease into the new school year?
Tips to Help Kids With School Stress
- Remind them they are not alone: While it may seem to them as though everyone else is comfortable and confident, let your kids know that most kids are actually anxious about the return to school. The nervousness they feel is completely normal.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep: Make sure your child is getting enough sleep, not just during the school year, but in the days leading up to the start of school too. Start to get into a regular bed time routine before your kids’ first day. Also, remember that your child may be extra tired and a bit cranky the first days or weeks of school. You may need to exercise more patience with them!
- Give them healthy fuel: Start the day off with a good, healthy breakfast. Going to school with an empty stomach won’t give them the strength they need both physically and mentally. Make sure they have enough for snacks and lunch too.
- Listen… A LOT: If your child is experiencing stress and talks to you about it, let them talk. Listen to what they have to say and remember that issues that may not seem important to you may be very important to them.
- Talk to them: You can relay your own experience, but remember, you are sharing your experience to help them understand that their fears are normal and not minimize their feelings. Say things like, “I remember what it was like, and yes it is hard” rather than “I remember what it was like, but now I see it’s not a big deal” will go a long way. Make sure your kids know that they can come to you with any problem they may have.
- Be Prepared: Make sure you have all the supplies they need ahead of time. A day or two ahead, help your child decide what to wear and make sure those items are clean and ready to go for their first day. Make sure they know the routine for getting to and from school.
- Keep a close eye on them: You know your child. If you think they may be experiencing anxiety that is unusual or severe, it may be time to seek professional help for them.
Checking in with your child routinely on how they’re feeling about school can help you identify any issues that are being to boil. School can be challenging, but it should be a fun place to go.