New backpack – check. Fresh pencils and markers – check. Fully-charged device – check. Back-to-school butterflies in the belly? CHECK!
Whether your child is heading off to school for the very first time or walking into their senior year, it’s perfectly normal if they are experiencing some back-to-school jitters. Who will I sit with at lunch? What’s the teacher going to be like? Is the work going to be too hard? These are just a few questions that may be swimming around in your child’s mind as they count down to the first day of the year.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help get those butterflies to stop fluttering around.
Be a Mindful Listener
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. At the same time, it’s perfectly fine to offer some gentle encouragement, like reassuring them that they aren’t the only ones who are feeling this way.
Make Connections Before School Begins
Taking advantage of events offered by the school (like a “meet and greet” day or an orientation) or helping your child make a social connection with a classmate before the first day will help break the ice.
Do a Dry Run
Summer is long and children can easily get off schedule. Practicing the morning routine a few times before Day 1, including the timing required to get ready on schedule, will go a long way toward easing tensions for your child (and for YOU).
Prep + Pack
Work “in advance of need.” Start preparing for the school day the night before – make sure clothes and shoes are laid out, all books, supplies, and lunch are already in the backpack, and devices (if permitted by the school) are fully charged.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Ample sleep and a healthy diet are musts! Make sure that your child is getting their ZZZZZs and Vitamin Bs (and other important nutrients) so they’ll be physically ready to tackle the new school year.
Do a “Self-Check”
Students aren’t the only ones who can get a case of the nerves when it’s time to go back to school. The jitters can strike parents too. If you find yourself in this position, talk about it with your spouse or a trusted friend or family member. Remember, children often take cues from their parents, so adequately addressing your own emotions will not only help you, it will help your child.
Have you successfully guided your child through the back-to-school jitters in the past? If so, we’d love to know how. Please leave your helpful tips in the comments section.