Soothe Back-to-school Anxiety

empty_school_auditorium

Whether your child is off to kindergarten or college, the first day of school is often fraught with emotion. Moms and kids alike are flooded with excitement, anxiety, fear and anticipation. So it’s no wonder there are plenty of tears -- and often a few meltdowns – when drop-off time comes. But there are strategies, like knowing what to expect and how to handle the feelings in advance, that can help ease the anxiety of the transition.

For kids, the classroom can mean pressure to make friends and excel. And with the unknowns of a new teacher and classmates, they can express their emotions through tears, clinginess and resistance on the first day. To help your kids adapt to all of these changes and reduce back-to-school anxiety, get a head start with these moves:

1.     Talk about how both of you are feeling. A few days before the big day, discuss your emotions with your child, and ask if they feel the same way. Say, “I wonder if you’re feeling a little scared/nervous/excited too.”

2.    Incorporate a special tradition. You can make the first day of school something the whole family looks forward to. Sit down with your kids and decide how you want to celebrate -- whether it’s making a special breakfast or going to a favorite restaurant for dinner.

3.    Be optimistic. Kids absorb their parents’ emotions. If you’re anxious, fearful or apprehensive, your child will start to believe that the first day of school is something she should dread. By staying positive (“first grade is so much fun!”), she’ll understand this is a natural part of growing up.

4.    Practice new experiences. Much of children’s fear is rooted in not knowing what’s going to happen next. Prepare your kids by discussing what they should expect, such as who their teacher is and how their day will go. Also practice classroom protocol, such as raising hands and asking permission to use the restroom. The more experience they have, the more comfortable they’ll feel.

It goes without saying that you’ll be experiencing a few tissue-worthy emotions too. Acknowledging that your child is growing up can make you long for days past. It’s perfectly normal to shed a tear or two in the days leading up to the first day of school. To mentally prepare yourself, keep a journal of your thoughts and speak to your spouse or friends about their own experiences and feelings. And save your tears for after your children are asleep -- kids work to protect their parents’ feelings, and seeing you cry may make them feel guilty about starting school.

Armed with these tips, you and your kids will be well-prepared. But on the morning itself, remember that every kid is unique and displays emotions and anxiety differently. Here’s a few tips to help ease the transition:

· Fight the urge to compare your child to others, such as classmates or siblings. If your child isn’t showing signs of apprehension, don’t ask yourself why.

· Don’t drag out the goodbye if your child is upset. Instead, make it clear you will see her at the end of the day, and leave with a quick hug and kiss.

· Remember the tissues. Stash a few tissues in your purse and your child’s backpack to have on hand, for your kids or yourself after they’ve said goodbye.

Like this article? Get more by following us @FaceEveryDay or friending us on Facebook at Beauty & Confidence .