Back to School Jitters?

No matter what grade your child is going into, back-to-school jitters are entirely normal. But there are ways to help ease your child’s justified anxiety.

It’s common for students to feel anxious when they are starting at a new campus, they are unsure if their friends will be in the same class(es), and nervous to meet their new teacher(s). Having open conversations, being a mindful listener, and preparing your child for the unknown are vital ways to turn your child’s stress into excitement for this new chapter.

The first step in understanding your child’s anxiety over returning to school is to listen to their thoughts and feelings. Hearing children out without dismissing their concerns is key to having an open conversation. And while it may be common knowledge, points out in a recent article, “when a child feels listened to, he is more likely to listen, and having been understood, he will understand your point of view as well. It helps parents and children form stronger bonds and relationships, and builds their self-esteem.” Listening to your child’s minor problems now will help them come forward with bigger problems in the future. Mari-Jane Williams, a writer for The Washington Post, interviewed parents, teachers, and counselors for advice on how to better listen to children. Former teacher and mother of three, Amanda Morin, disclosed an effective game to play that she calls “What If vs. What Is,” which can aid them in deciphering between fear and reality. If a child is fearful of how large the campus may be, you can point out that they already know the building, or schedule a tour of the campus so they may become familiar with the campus before the first day of school. While it’s easy to say to children not to worry about their fears, it’s equally as important to acknowledge their concerns and talk them through navigating those feelings.

In addition to scheduling a tour of an unknown campus, there is another way to prepare children for unfamiliar situations. Maybe they aren’t confident about making new friends at school. This is a perfect opportunity to include some “role-playing preparation,” Morin says. “Talk through different scenarios with them and go over appropriate reactions. You can also have a debrief session after school to talk about a social situation from the day that didn’t go well, and how they can approach it differently next time,” Williams points out in her article. If a child is particularly intimidated by meeting a new teacher, then perhaps reach out to them to see if they’re available to meet your child before the first day of school. Most teachers would be more than willing to help make these transitions as seamless as possible for your child.
Even though you may not be able to rid your child of their back-to-school jitters completely, you can help them manage their stress with open communication and preparation for the new year. In the end, keeping these lines of communication open will continue to help your child feel comfortable about coming to you and other adults with their problems, which is always a good thing.

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”