Parents, it’s back to school time again! You may be feeling a little excited and maybe a little sad that summer is over. Some kids feel nervous or a little scared on the first day of school because of all the new things such as new teachers, new friends, and maybe even a new school. Maybe you’re nervous as well. Luckily, these “new” worries only stick around for a little while.
Here are some helpful tips to help ease the transition for you both!
1. Give your child a Way to Hold Onto You During the Day
For many kids, the biggest challenge is saying goodbye to you. You can create a variety of rituals based on the age group of your child to help ease their anxiety.
Develop a parting ritual, such as a hug, a saying, or a unique high five.
Younger children also like a token for their pocket, such as a paper heart with a love note, or a special pebble you found together.
Bring 100% of your attention to loving them every morning.
Make sure that every day after school when you’re reunited, you have special time with each child to hear all about their day.
2. Calm their Fears
Children look to parents for reassurance about what’s dangerous and what’s not. So while you’re empathizing with your child’s concerns, be sure that you’re also expressing confidence that your child will be safe at school. Here are some ways to help calm their fears:
Explain that it is completely normal to be a bit anxious about a new situation, but they can trust that you and their teacher will take care of them.
Offer your own school stories that you seem fit and the assurance that they’ll feel right at home soon.
Point out that naturally people who love each other don’t enjoy going their separate ways, but they’ll be absolutely fine, and the school can always contact you.
Practice setting time in your day to allow your child to express their fears to you in a calm setting.
Remind them your love is always with them even when you aren’t.
3. Help Your Child Laugh Out Their Anxieties
Giggling is a child’s way of venting anxiety, and any child who is having a tough school adjustment is feeling anxious or fearful inside.
Give them as many opportunities to laugh as possible.
If you can spend some time every morning laughing in your house, you’ll find that their separation from you at school goes more smoothly.
4. Be Alert for Signs of Uncertainties with Your Child
Most of the time, kids do fine after a few weeks. But occasionally, their unhappiness indicates a more serious issue: they’re being bullied, can’t see the blackboard, or are having trouble understanding a certain subject and are afraid to speak up.
If You are Uncertain of How Your Child is Feeling
Ask calm questions about their day.
Reflect what they tell you so you can gain a better understanding of their needs in that moment, versus what you want to do for them.
5. Create a Calm and Restful Househould Routine
Children who aren’t well-rested don’t have the internal resources to cope with goodbyes, much less the severities of the school day. You deserve a well nights’ rest too so you can calmly master the morning rush and get everyone off to a happy start.
Peaceful household practices – Peaceful households begin the evening before
Set an intention at bedtime (have your child set their intention on how they want to feel in the morning).
Prepare the evening before.
Wake up before your children and create a peaceful morning for yourself, first and foremost.
Prepare breakfast ahead of time.
Be mindful of family time.
Set the tone with positive music.
Practice gratitude by saying what each of you are thankful for.
Have family meetings in the morning.
Don’t seek perfection in your children. Instead, practice peacefulness (enjoy your moments together).
Vanessa is a proud alum of Texas A&M University Corpus Christi where she received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. As a Prevention Educator with Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, she provides educational support, resources, advocacy, and awareness on teen dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault. She has a strong passion for social justice, and her work is geared towards eliminating and reduce factors that cause the victimization of domestic and sexual violence and unhealthy relationships within the communities. She enjoys working out, playing basketball, podcasting, and reading.