5 Tips to Keep in Mind as the New School Year Approaches
by Alison Dodd, LGPC
It is hard to believe that the lazy days of summer are coming to an end and before we know it, we will all be back to school routines and weekends packed with extracurricular activities. The transition back to school can be exciting but also anxiety-provoking for children and parents. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as the new school year approaches:
- Start the school routine before the first day of school. This means waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. Start the adjustment period early! When we are tired, we become more easily overwhelmed and this can increase big feelings about returning to school.
- Re-familiarize your child with the school. Many schools open before the first day so parents and children can drop off school supplies, see their classroom and meet the new teacher. This can help alleviate anxiety in a child and remind them that they’ve “been there, done that” before.
- Re-connect with school friends before the first day. This can help alleviate the worries about “who is going to be in my class this year?” or “who will I sit with at lunch?”
- Make sure to allow for some down time after school for the first few weeks so children can decompress after a hectic school day.
- Adjustment to back to the school routine takes time. Remember that the first few weeks may be challenging for both you and your child. It is normal for a child to feel anxious the first few weeks of school. If you are concerned that your child’s anxiety seems atypical or extends beyond the first month or so of school don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher and school counselor. They may be able to offer extra support for your child through the transition.
Here are 10 of my favorite “back to school” themed books to read with children:
- First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and Judy Love
- Pete The Cat: Rocking My School Shoes by James Dean
- Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- Ms. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
- The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
- The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson
- We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
- The Exceptionally Extraordinary Ordinary First Day of School by Albert Lorenz
Alison Dodd, LGPC provides Individual and Family Therapy for Children (ages 3+), Adolescents and Young Adults as well as Group Therapy.