Where has the summer gone? Do you feel like I do and think, I blinked and POW it’s back to school! There’s a lot of excitement for the new school year but some are feeling a bit nervous and anxious. It is common for children to be both excited as well as apprehensive about the start to a new school year. Being a little worried about heading back to school is normal.
Whether your child is going to the same school, but concerned about their new teacher, or starting a new school, the underlying uncertainty is normal.
I can remember lying in bed the night before the first day of school and being so excited that I couldn’t sleep. I was always most excited about what “new outfit” I was going to wear. My mother had of course taken me shopping weeks before for the “back-to-school” skirt and sweater, and I just couldn’t wait to get to wear my new clothes.
Back-to-school jitters are normal and should be discussed several days before school begins. It is very common for a child to have anxiety and stress related to a new school. But it is also not uncommon for children to worry about little changes related to such things as new lockers, cafeteria changes, a new teacher, or new friends.
Some children will complain of tummy aches and headaches with the beginning of school. I am always reminded that I rarely hear children complain of a headache or tummy ache during summer vacations. These “aches and pains” are often a manifestation of a little underlying anxiety, and seem to be a September – June phenomena. A little parental reassurance will often help relieve those aches.
The best plan for dealing with back-to-school jitters is to acknowledge the anxiety and plan on how to deal with it. Make sure that your child is rested for the first day of school and they have a good breakfast to start off the day.
On the way to school discuss all of the positives for the new school year. Make your goodbyes short and sweet. Let your child know you will be there at the end of the day. Do not let your child see you upset, as sometimes parents too are anxious about the first days of kindergarten, high school or even college.
Those back to school pictures are memorable and you will always like looking at the pictures with everyone smiling, even if your parental heart is a little sad at letting go.
That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.