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Parent Tips for Managing Back-to-School Emotions

Shopping for clothes and searching for the required school supplies over can be as hard as the actual first day of school for both children and parents. Many hours are invested in shopping for material items for school return, which can overshadow, or block parents' vision of their child’s emotional and social stress and fear associated with school. Back-to-school anxiety is normal and understandable, especially with the increase of school shootings over the past several years.

It is important to remember that are many challenges students faces as they return to school. They must quickly adjust to new faces and build or re-establish relationships, adapt to new routines, and handle the stress and pressure of their workload among countless others.

Here are a few tips you may find helpful to support the emotional and social well-being of children returning to school:

  • Create a back-to-school calendar with your child before school begins. It can include weekly activities, so the child knows what to expect in the near future. The timeline can vary from one to three months, or you continue to use the calendar throughout the year.

  • Have a conversation: Do not wait until school arrives to engage in back-to-school conversations with your child. Talk about their feelings about school; what are their expectations of school, teacher, and/or friends; What do they fear most? What are they looking forward to on their first day; what may make them afraid to go to school?

  • Take your child to the library to check out books about school; read them aloud or share a story about your school experience.

  • Use art to encourage your child to share their feelings about school.

  • If feasible, visit the school before the first day of school; discuss the experience and encourage them to draw a picture.

  • Host a parent gathering to share concerns about school and create a support system for children’s social and emotional growth. Invite speakers to your group to discuss child and parents' fears.

Below are some recommended resources for back to school:

101 back-to-school tips for kids and parents



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