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Helping your child with back-to-school fears

Is your child a little nervous about going back to school? Perhaps it’s a new school and they feel a bit anxious, for example? Here’s how to help them prepare for the first day back to class.

Little girl boarding the school bus

Most kids don’t look forward to giving up their summer days of playing and frolicking to go back to school. But for some kids, going back to class may be more than that; it may actually cause them anxiety. Here’s how you can help ease their concerns and get them ready for — maybe even looking forward to — the first day of class.

Assure them their nervousness is normal

The last thing you want to do is be dismissive of their nervousness. Assure them it’s normal to feel some stress about going back to school. Talk to them about times you have been fearful and how you overcame your anxiety. Knowing you understand where they’re coming from will be comforting to them.

Get them talking about school

The more you make it an everyday topic, the more at ease they’ll become with the idea. So encourage them to talk about the upcoming school year and that first day. The more it is a part of their everyday frame of mind, the more it may allay their fears. Talk about it at dinner and when driving them to activities, keeping the conversation casual rather than forced and serious.

Do a “rehearsal” of the first day

If your child is feeling particularly ill at ease, consider doing a trial day before the first day of class. Make them breakfast, get them dressed and drive or walk them to school so they can experience it beforehand and have a better idea of what to expect.

Plan their school-day routine

As you know, routine helps to make it easier for for kids and for you. So draw up an itinerary of what a typical school day would be like, and post it on the fridge. This will help them wrap their head around what their day will entail.

Get them excited with back-to-school clothes and supplies

Help bring them around to looking forward to going back to class by heading to the mall to get them back-to-school clothes and some shiny new supplies. If you can afford a fun back-to-school gadget or two (an MP3 player or toy they can bring to school for recess and lunch hour), that might help your child look at school more keenly too.

More on kids and school

Safety tips for riding the school bus
Avoid back-to-school bedlam: 8 Tips
After-school snacks kids can make themselves

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