Each year, as summer fades into fall and the days grow ever shorter, one event marks the season like no other: back to school. Often, the new school year is marked by excitement, fear, thoughts of a fresh start, and overwhelming doubts.
These feelings are normal; however, parents can help calm fears and encourage confidence by taking a few simple steps:
• Get back-to-school shopping done early
• Familiarize children with transportation schedules
• Establish earlier bedtimes and earlier wakeup times before school starts
• Promote good study habits
• Keep a calendar of due dates and afterschool activities
• Tour the school beforehand
• Encourage friendships with classmates
• Talk to your child (e.g. validate fears and work on solutions to problems)
• Discuss bullies, peer pressure, respect, social skills, and school concerns
• Emphasize the fun stuff (e.g. independence, and meeting new people)
One of the best ways to prepare your child for the school year is to provide them with continuing support and motivation. For children transitioning into middle school or high school, they may feel especially nervous, particularly when adapting to new environments, adjusting to unfamiliar peers and facing ever-increasing responsibilities and pressures. Children, regardless if attending another year of elementary school or entering high school for the first time need to be reassured and encouraged. Parents should ready themselves to offer advice, ease anxiety and promote realistic expectations in response to doubts and fears. If your child needs someone to talk to about his or her overwhelming fears, you can search our database of psychologist.
Consider these additional resources:
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Back to school time – tips to help children adjust
- National Association of School Psychologists: Back-to-school transitions: tips for parents
- Nemours Foundation: What is test anxiety?
- TestAnxietytips.com: Test anxiety tips