As summer break winds down, there are a few things you can do to get the school year off to a good start. Most children are naturally excited and nervous to begin a new year. Here are some things you can do to help them ease back to school anxiety and feel more confident about heading back to school.
#1. Visit the School Before the Semester Starts
If you’ve ever heard of the term “desensitization,” which is used to cure phobias, the same concept can work for conquering back-to-school anxiety. By taking your kids to the school beforehand, their brains will learn that nothing bad happens and will stop releasing stress hormones. Even if the school is closed over the summer, take your kids to the playground so they become familiar with their future environment. This will also empower them when they can show other kids around a place they’ve already been to.
#2. Attend Any Orientations or “Meet the Teacher” Events
If you have the opportunity to meet your child’s teacher before school starts, do it! By removing a big unknown like “Who is my teacher? What is he or she like?,” your child will be more at ease on the first day. Even if your kid isn’t sure if his friends will be in the same class, at least he’ll know his teacher. And since class isn’t in session, you’ll likely get a little more personal attention and get to ask the teacher questions in a less formal environment.
#3. Know What to Expect in Your Child’s New Grade and Discuss It
If you attend orientation, you’ll be equipped with information that helps your child feel more prepared for the first day of school. Where will they be dropped off on their first day? Do they go straight to their classroom? What is their schedule like? In some schools, fifth graders start rotating classrooms for different subjects. Talking to them about what to expect will alleviate a lot of their nervous energy.
#4. Arrive Early During the First Few Days of School
Ever notice how your child acts clingy, wants to go home, or refuses to participate whenever you arrive late to a birthday party, school, or other gathering? When you arrive after class or an event has started, your child has to deal with the anxiety and chaos of rushing to get there. They are also likely going to feel like they’ve missed out on instructions, announcements, and bonding with the group. So make it a point to be on time for the first week of school (and every day whenever possible).
Can’t think of any healthy lunches to make for the first week of school? See our blog about 5 superfoods that you can incorporate in your lunches to boost your child’s immune system. To join parenting discussions with other Longview community members, like Hospitality Health ER’s Facebook page.