“Back to School” is more than just a very popular advertising slogan that pops up in stores toward the end of summer. It’s a phrase that brings all kinds of emotions to all kinds of people. Apprehension, anticipation, excitement, dread, and a rush of memories. For many kids, going back to school can seem like a scary prospect after they’ve gotten used to the routines of summer vacation; but school is a vitally important part of kids’ lives, and even if they are nervous about it, they need to go back. Here are some ways to help them get past their anxiety.
Focus on the Positive
School means early mornings, hard work, and sometimes not getting to do WHAT you want, WHEN you want. Kids often focus on these things instead of all of the fun things that go on at school… but fun things do happen every day at school. Kids make friends, create art projects, learn songs and games and even take joy from their more serious lessons. Many future scientists, authors and other professionals first find their passion as children at school. Talk with your kids about these things to help them remember why school isn’t a prison sentence.
One of the things kids enjoy about going back to school is the excitement of getting new school supplies. There’s something wonderful about brand new books and pencils that makes kids feel like the new school year is a fresh start and a chance for great things to happen. Back to school shopping doesn’t need to be expensive. School supplies are available at many discount stores, and a shopping trip with your kids is an adventure they’ll enjoy. A new outfit for the first day of school is another joyful thing for many kids. Promise to help them look their best on their first day, and their confidence will soar.
Let Them Talk
School can be a fun experience, but if your child has concerns, or even just nerves, it’s important not to ignore that. Spend some time letting them talk about their feelings about returning to school, both positive and negative. It’s not uncommon for kids to have genuine worries and fears about school. Some kids are afraid of being bullied or of feeling left out, while others are worried about doing poorly in their schoolwork. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your child’s teacher to make a plan to help your child feel safe and confident in the classroom.
Support Them All Year Long
Going back to school is both wonderful and stressful, but it’s only the beginning of the school year. Make sure that you stay in communication with your kids all year long about their school experiences and help them deal with worries and concerns as they arise. Let them talk about the positives too, because that will help them to feel more confident for next year’s school experience. Remember that you are your kids’ staunchest ally, and you can make a difference in easing their nerves.