Tips for Handling Back-to-School Jitters with Kindergarten and Elementary Students

Friday, August 15, 2014 6:37 AM

back-to-school

Nervousness on the first day of school is perfectly normal both for parents and young students. New routines, new people, new information: it’s a time of transition. But “transition” doesn’t have to be a bad word. 

Nancy Zinaman, LCSW, shares some simple back-to-school preparation tips that will make the first day easier on the entire family:

For kindergartners try not to make the first day over emotional. If parents are anxious they need to be aware of their own feelings so as not to make their children more nervous.

Children who have made a smooth transition into preschool may have a harder time transitioning into Kindergarten. You can help make this transition easier by playing on the school playground with your child before classes begin. Visit the school when it is empty or schedule a tour. If time allows, visit or arrange a one-on-one meeting with the teacher and staff. Familiar faces and places will make the first day so much easier.

For children with special needs it’s important for parents to connect with teachers prior to the first day of class to make sure they are aware of separation anxiety, ADHD or any other family challenges

Find out the best way to communicate with your child’s teacher. Ask your child’s teacher what he or she would prefer: email, phone, etc. This will foster a positive, productive relationship from the start. 

Prepare for the new routine early. Don’t wait until the first day to start implementing your new routine. Put the school day structure in place one or two weeks before: establish a back-to-school bedtime; get up early; give kids a fun school-day task like packing their own lunch or backpack. Don’t over-schedule after school activities the first couple of weeks because your children will be tired after a long day of school.

Talk to your children. Find out how your children really feel about starting a new school year. Is there something in particular that is causing nervousness or dread? Give yourself time to address it or talk to the school about it if it’s something the school can address. Let your children know their feelings are normal and that they are not alone.

How does your family prepare for the first day of school?

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