The next wave of children and adolescents are experiencing a new school year this month.  While starting a new school year can be stressful on parents it can also be a stressful time for children. New schools, teachers, classmates, subjects to study, grades, and getting from the locker to class before the bell rings. This time can be particularly overwhelming for children who are facing major transitions such as starting elementary school or entering middle or high school. As a parent there steps you can take to support your child as he or she heads back to school.

  • Let your child know it is ok to be nervous. Parents with younger children may let your child take a special object to school to make his or her surroundings more comfortable.

  • Attend school functions and stay involved in your child’s education. Children whose parents are more involved are at an advantage in the school performance and may have an easier time adjusting. 

  • Get to know how your child develops socially and emotionally by making time to talk with your child regularly. Make it a point to lay aside one-on-one time just for you and your child, that includes positive supportive statements that highlight the good in your child. If you are aware of what’s typical behavior and thoughts for your child’s stage of life, you will be able to tell more readily when things may not be right.

  • Encourage your child to become involved with school activities and try new things.

Anxiety and stress about starting school is normal for a child and usually passes within the first few days or weeks. If your child continues to seem anxious or stressed, it may be time to seek help.  If problems persist, consider reaching out to a trained and qualified mental health professional.