That first day of school isn’t just hard on mom and dad. It can be hard on children, too, especially if they are making a major transition. Whether it’s a first day of kindergarten, moving to a new school, or simply first day jitters, those first few days can sometimes be the most stressful ones. If you have a child that is prone to anxiousness, you’ll want to focus on providing reassurance that everything is going to be okay. If you sense that your child is dealing with back to school anxiety, here are 6 tips to help them manage it.
Start by calming your nerves
How are you feeling about your child returning to school? If the answer is, “Nervous,” or “Uncertain,” it’s time to find good tactics for calming down your panic center. If you’re exhibiting signs of stress or anxiety yourself, your little one may be reading those signs. This can add to the stress level they’re feeling too. Find what suits you best for personal self-care time. Whether it’s taking deep breaths, journaling, meditation, or working out, one of the first things you should do is calm your own anxieties to help your child settle down. It’s the start of helping set them up for success.
Talk and listen to your child
Sometimes the easiest way to discuss the fears your child is having is to be open about anxiety. Be willing to talk to your child about what it is and how it shows up. From there, it’s important for you to listen to what they have to say. Understanding their fears and how they manifest in your child can help you both learn new coping strategies for when it appears. Teach your child the ways adults cope with anxiety to normalize it. And make sure they know it’s okay to feel the way that they do. When they recognize how they’re feeling and that others experience it, too, they’ll be more equipped to manage it appropriately.
Practice, practice, practice
Sometimes one of the easiest ways to beat back to school anxiety is by developing a routine that you can practice. In the days leading up to school, be sure to go through the steps. That includes bedtime and mealtimes, and tasks like brushing teeth and grabbing backpacks. You may even want to walk or ride the route to school. The more comfortable your child feels in knowing what to expect, less back to school anxiety they’ll feel on the first day.
Set up playdates with friends from school
Has it been a while since your kids have seen their school friends? Try to set up playdates before the start of school so they will feel more comfortable on the first day of school. Playdates remind kids they have a friend at school, and it prepares them for long days surrounded by other kids. It will give them a familiar face that will ease the transition.
Get lots of rest
Set your child up for success by making sure they get a good night’s sleep every day. Sleep is critical for children. A lack of it can inhibit cognitive performance, mood, learning and memory, and more. It can even cause anxiety. Make sure your school-age child is getting between 9-12 hours of sleep a day and that you’re limiting screen time before bed.
Let teachers know
If you can sense your child is struggling with back to school anxiety, talk to your child’s teacher about it so they can help create a smooth transition. As teachers work to build connections and bonds with their students, having a teacher on your side to help ease stress can make a massive difference in how your child responds to the return to a classroom.
PALS helps your child grow
If you’re interested in a school that will help your child develop the emotional intelligence to succeed well into adulthood, get in touch with PALS. PALS Praise & Leadership Schools provides many advantages to parents looking for an outstanding daycare program. Our signature preschool program fills your child’s days with beneficial activities. They are designed to build self-esteem and moral character, helping put that back to school anxiety at bay. Our students leave, fully prepared to think, reason, produce, be responsible, achieve, excel, communicate, and be happy. Under our care, they develop a positive sense of self. It’s because PALS Praise & Leadership Schools help children recognize and exalt their natural gifts.
PALS offers two great campuses in Peoria, both which offer the same high standards of care for your child. To learn more, or to schedule a tour of one of our two facilities, contact us at our North Peoria campus (2327 W Willow Knolls Rd, Peoria, IL 61614) at 309-228-2505. Or call our Downtown Peoria campus (700 NE Greenleaf, Peoria, IL 61603) at 309-740-4463. We invite you to see how PALS will help your child develop beautifully.