Back to school is a time of change. And parents may not remember, but the transition to the next grade, a different teacher or a new school isn't always easy!
But neither is figuring out how to calm first day jitters.
If your child is struggling with worry, here are some steps you can take to free your child of the back to school butterflies. It's our Thursday's Top 7.
Remember how you felt on the first day of school? No matter if your child is thrilled or dreading the start of school, Clinical Psychologist Dr. Laura Hutchison from Farmington Hills has these tips for parents and caregivers:
#7 PAPER CHAIN COUNTDOWN
You can help your child manage the anxiousness-tied tick-tock of the back to school clock with a home project. "I like the paper chain where they are linked together and they can tear off one each day." Hutchison adds, "It helps children remember. Okay. There are five more days, there are four more days."
That gives children a little more control.
#6 JUMP START SCHOOL ROUTINE
Coming in at #6 is getting an early start on the back to school routine – at bedtime, wake up and breakfast before back to school starts – so there are fewer changes on the first day.
#5 PARENTS FACE OWN ANXIETY
5th on our list is for parents to take a look in the mirror. Dr. Hutchison says your child's worry could be a reflection of your anxiety. One trick, do something special for your child. Hutchison adds, "...also special for us. Maybe making a coffee date with a friend or having a special lunch." That will give you something positive to look forward to in the back to school hustle."
#4 IDENTIFY SPECIFIC WORRY
Coming in at #4, sit down and talk to your child. Are there specific concerns? Whether real or imaginary, just talking out the problems can sometimes alleviate worry.
#3 SET UP A PLAYDATE
At #3, is your child worried about making friends? Reach out to other parents in the class and set up a playdate. For older kids, reach out to old school friends before classes start. All kids benefit by seeing a familiar faces on day one.
Dante Bishop says he was mortified when it was time to go back to school. But catching up with fellow members of the school band before school started helped him reconnect with a friends. "I was nervous about meeting the new teachers but knowing I could go back to band practice was one of the things that made it a little easier for me", says Bishop.
#2 VISIT THE SCHOOL
If your child is going to a new school, consider a visit. It's 2nd on our list. A visit will help your child become familiar with the school and the new environment. Dr. Hutchison says her own daughter did it. "Just so she knew... okay, I'll come in and this door and my classroom will be over here." The visit allows kids to see themselves in the new school space. This is especially useful when moving to a new school.
#1 TEACHER MEET & GREET
Number one on our list: Set up a meet & greet with the teacher. Your child will spend almost 1,100 hours in the classroom. A trusting relationship with the teacher can ease the back to school butterflies and maybe avoid future worries.