As we prepare for the beginning of another school year you may notice your child becoming anxious and stressed about the future. “Who will my teacher be? What if my friends aren’t in my class? What if other kids are mean to me? What if I can’t keep up with my school work?”. These worries are normal, but can certainly cause sleepless nights for our kids. Here are some strategies to help make the transition easier for everyone.
- Share Fears: Encourage your child to discuss their worries as they head back to school. Remind them that their concerns are normal and that you are there to support them. For the first few weeks of school make sure you check in to see how they are feeling about those concerns.
- Back to Basics: We all handle stress better when we are getting enough sleep and eating properly. Over the summer we may become relaxed with our regular schedule and eating habits, before school starts try to get back to regular bedtimes and scheduled meals and healthy snacks.
- Stay Positive: Try to focus on the positive aspects of heading back to school. Ask your child what they are looking forward too. Maybe it’s getting to spend more time with friends, using those cool new school supplies you picked up or trying out for a school team or group. Once you know what your child is looking forward to try to focus on that.
- Watch your own behaviour: Children will pick up on your mood instantly. If you are anxious or nervous about your child heading back to school (or starting school for the first time) they will pick up on this and will trigger them to have negative feelings. Try to stay positive and happy (save the tears for once they’ve left!)
Leading up to Back-to-School Tips:
- At least a week before get back to regular bedtimes, meal times and wake up times.
- Plan lunches and snacks for the first week back to school.
- Make a list of needed school supplies, and go on a shopping trip! (Try to make it fun and exciting). Check out flyers for sales and stick to your list to stay on budget.
- Practice coping skills for anxiety (deep breathing, mindfulness, positive thinking etc.)
- Plan outfits for the first week of school
- Take a walk or drive to school
- The night before make sure lunch and snacks are already prepared and their backpack is packed. The less that needs to be done the morning of, the less stress for the child (and yourself!)
- It’s nice to have a special snack or favourite dinner after the first day of school. It will be a long day for any child and is a nice reward for something special after the big day.