Categories Anxiety

Reducing Anxiety on the First Day of School for Parents and Kids

The countdown to the beginning of school often brings on a case of the worries for children as well as parents. Often the lead-up to the first day is stressful, emotional, and for some, heart-breaking. Parents and children can take steps to make the first day of school a less-worrisome anticipated event.

Find Friends Before School Starts

If the child is attending a new school, make an effort to visit places in the community where your child can meet other children who go to his school. Local playgrounds and libraries are excellent locations to meet children in the community and foster a friendship with a child in the same grade. Walking into school isn't quite as hard for a child who knows a friend will be waiting.

Through community involvement, parents can befriend other parents and get to know more about the school, teachers, and activities from a parent's perspective, which can often allay a parent's concerns about what to expect at a new school as well.

Take a Tour of the School Before the First Day

Often the unknown can be disconcerting to children, and especially to small kids, a school can look like a big scary place where it is easy to get lost. Call the school's office and arrange a time to walk through the school with your child.

In "Overcoming Separation Anxiety on the First Day of School," Parents magazine suggests stopping by the classroom several times, and if possible meeting the teacher ahead of time. Reducing as many unknowns as possible will put a child at ease.

Making Goodbye Easier for Parents and Children

Both parents and children may have a hard time saying goodbye to each other on the first day of school. To make it easier, Kids Health suggests talking through the goodbye procedure ahead of time. This will help the child to know what to expect, and help a parent formulate an exit plan ahead of time.

When the moment comes and it is time to put the child on the bus or send her into her classroom, parents should try not to linger and draw it out unnecessarily. A child who is upset will get over it faster without a hovering parent, and a child will often sense a parent's apprehension which can cause more anxiety in the child.

The first day of school brings excitement and anxiety for parents and kids, but by preparing ahead of time parents can eliminate some of the fretful thoughts and make going to school a positive experience. After the hardest goodbye, students will quickly find themselves having fun and playing games with new friends.