Are your kids looking forward to the first day of school, or could they be feeling a bit anxious?
Along with going to bed earlier and doing homework, some children stress about a new school year because it means adjusting to change. Some kids love change, but for others it can create fear and worry.
"Will I like my new teacher?" "What if the work is too hard for me?" "What if I don't make any friends?" Clinical psychologist and mom Juli Slattery says questions like these can keep can keep a 6-year-old — or a 16-year-old — up at night in the weeks leading up to the start of school.
Dr. Slattery says we can help our kids with "new school year anxiety" by validating their feelings. Encourage them to express their feelings about the school year starting.
You might ask them what they’re most excited and most nervous about. Then, explain that its normal to feel jitters before school starts.
Juli says we can also help to reduce the number of "unknown" factors leading up to the school year. Find out what you can about a new teacher, a new school and what friends will be attending school with your child.
If your school offers an open house to meet teachers and organize lockers, take advantage of it. If you have children just starting junior high or high school, walk through their schedule for the day.
Finally, when school starts, provide your child with displays of your confidence and affection. You might give a kindergartner a teddy bear to carry in his backpack as a reminder that "Mom and Dad are praying for you." For older kids, leave notes of encouragement hidden in their notebooks or lunch sacks.
You can find more back to school tips by going to FocusontheFamily.com and entering “back to school” in the search engine. I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.