It’s that time of year again when big yellow buses can be seen driving around the neighborhood and school bells begin ringing. Going back to school can definitely be an exciting time for parents and children.
But for some kids, especially younger ones, going back to school after a summer break can feel overwhelming and scary. While this can be fairly common, there are some things parents can do to help their child prepare for the new school year ahead:
Check Your own Emotions
Parents of young children may also find it a bit sad to send their child off to the first day of kindergarten or first grade. Your child will pick up on your emotions so be sure to put on a good face and show them good energy.
Shop and Talk
Young children that are very nervous about starting school may not want to talk about it. It’s a good idea to take your child shopping for their school supplies and clothes and use this time to try and discuss their feelings about things. Having an activity to do can often help a child express themselves better. Also, while you want your child to be able to express their fears and worries, try and steer the conversation towards things they may be looking forward to as well. Encourage them to recognize that although change is scary, it can also be really great and fun!
Summer was most likely filled with days and nights that did not fit a tight schedule. Your child may have been able to stay up longer and sleep in later. It will be a shock for them to suddenly have to go to bed early and get up to an alarm clock. Practice getting back into the proper sleep routine before the first week of school.
Connect with Future Classmates
If your child will not know anyone in their class, try to see if you can have a playdate before the school year begins so they can meet some new friends. This will make it much easier come that first day of school when they see a friendly and familiar face or two.
If you feel the stress of starting a new school year is overwhelming and your youngster and you are having a hard time handling things on your own, seek expert advice from a mental health professional who can help both of you cope.
If you’d like some help with your child’s anxiety, please be in touch. I’d be more than happy to discuss treatment options. Click here to schedule an initial appointment with Monica Ramunda, MA, LPC, RPT-S.