How to Ease the Back-to-School Nerves

The start of the new school year can be a nerve-racking time of year for many parents. A lot of us are juggling adjusting back at work, trying to spend some quality time with our children and families – all while facing the many other individual challenges that come with our everyday lives.

Meanwhile, our kids may also be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions around what the next school year will hold. For some, this may look like a loop of worry about schoolwork, social circles and the idea of waking up early again. Below are some tips and strategies for easing anxiety around a new school year.

Validate, validate, validate!

Validation is an important tool to use during every challenge we face. During the start of the new school year, validating both your own and your child’s concerns can remind us that our feelings about starting a new school year are normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Some helpful phrases to say to both yourself and your child include “I can see that you are feeling X” and “Others in the same situation would feel the same way”.

Create a routine.

The start of the school year is a time when the phrase “consistency is key” truly does reign supreme. Creating a daily routine that is familiar and predictable can help children with the transition from a fun and activity-filled summer break, back into the reality of going to school each day. Remember that often creating a routine takes some trial and error (and that’s totally normal!)

Get in touch with the school community.

For many of us, the summer break is a busy time spent with family. Oftentimes, our families have gone several weeks without seeing other parents and school friends. The time leading up to the new school year can be a great time to reach out to others within the school community. Facilitating these relationships will help us connect with other parents and ease our children’s nerves by reminding them of the friends they have at school.

Reinforce positive behaviour and achievements with a positive reward.

Providing our kids with a positive reward at the outcome of a desired behaviour, or after a particular achievement, will motivate repetition of the desired behaviour. So, if your child attends school every day for the first week back despite feeling the back-to-school nerves, treat them to a reward such as watching a movie of their choice or a family day out on the weekend.

Better Self Psychology specialises in helping children, teenagers, and young adults.

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