First Day of School Anxiety? Here are some Tips to Help
Starting the school year can be a really stressful and anxiety provoking time for kids (and parents!). It doesn’t matter if your little one is starting Prep, Grade 3 or even high school, there are a few simple things you can do to make the transition a whole lot less stressful.
Top Tip 1: Have a practice run
Sometimes the most stressful things about starting the school year is having to get back into the normal ‘school routine’. Have a practice run the week before school goes back. Do everything from setting your alarm, having your little one put on their uniform and shoes, pack their lunchbox, tie their hair up and walk or drive to school. This is a great way for working out ahead of time if you’ve forgotten anything (drink bottle anyone!?).
Top Tip 2: Have a play date
One of the biggest worries that kids have about going back to school is not having anyone to play with – this is especially the case if they are in a new grade with children they don’t know. If you can, set up a play date during the holidays with one of the other children in the class. Your child will start the year feeling much more comfortable that they know someone else.
Top Tip 3: Visit the classroom and meet the teacher
At most schools the teachers go back to work a day or two before the students start. This gives you the perfect opportunity to pop in with your child and say hi. Take the time to explore the classroom with your child so that they know where their bag and books will go. Walk from the classroom to the toilets and play areas so that they feel comfortable getting around the school. Generally, the teachers will take the students on an orientation walk on the first day of school, but if your child is anxious, there’s no harm in getting in early!
Top Tip 4: Information, Information, Information!
I like to call this tip ‘information overload!’. Put it this way, the more information you have about the school and your child’s classroom, the better equipped you are to answer any questions your child has. Most schools now have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts where you can ask questions and get a super quick answer. And rest assured, if you’re wondering what time the first bell goes, then you can be guaranteed that another 10 people are wondering exactly the same thing. Pop up to the school or hop onto the school website and have a read through the schools policies and information booklets. If you still have any questions, send your child’s teacher an email or give the school a call.
Top Tip 5: Encourage your child to talk about their worries
Possibly the most important tip of all is to encourage your child to talk to you about anything that they are worried about. Often it will be something as simple as whether they need to take a drink bottle to school, or where they will need to play if they forget their hat. Having regular discussions about any little worries will stop anxiety in it’s tracks… which will hopefully mean it doesn’t end in a huge meltdown at the school gate!
For more handy tips, check out our free Back to School Guide.
Do you have any tips for a smooth start to the school year? Who’s more anxious – you or your child?