The summer months are winding down and going back to school is quickly approaching. Children and teens are going to be going back to school, which can cause some general anxiety and some separation anxiety. Here are 5 tips to try to make the transition back to school a little bit easier.
1. Try a run through: Every teacher and school has an open house before schools starts. Take your child with you so that they can see their classroom and meet their teacher before school starts. As adults we practice for that big presentation at work and athletes always warm up before taking the field, children need to see their classroom and meet their teacher to feel safe and comfortable, so taking them to open house can help reduce some of their anxiety.
2. Create a routine: Children with anxiety do well when they know what’s going to happen. Developing a routine for back to school, so that your child knows what to expect every day. You can also practice this the week before school starts. The unknown is what can cause anxiety, so knowing what to expect can help to reduce anxiety.
3. Have a goodbye ritual: Have a way to say goodbye to your child, can help to reduce anxiety. Whether that’s a handshake, walking them to the door, or saying goodbye in the carpool line. Have a way to let your child know that you have to go and that you will see them later and to keep their trust. Sneaking out and not saying bye can increase anxiety.
4. Go shopping together: I know that it’s easier to maneuver in stores sometimes without our children when we are on a lunch break or just trying to pick up a few things that are needed without someone asking for everything that they see, but taking your child to pick out their school supplies and put them in their book bag.
5. Change their sleep schedule: In the summer time, their bedtimes may have been later and that may have slept in. Two weeks before school starts, have then start to go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night, so that by the time that school starts they will be ready for their school time bed time.
If your child continues to have significant anxiety related to school, consider taking your child to a counselor that specializes in working with children and adolescents,