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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

How to Handle Back to School Jitters


Be mindful that the anxiety you feel as a parent can fuel your kids' anxiety. The best way to minimize anxiety for your children on the first day of school is to turn things that are "unknown" into things that are "known" by visiting the classroom ahead of time, discussing the routine on the first day including school drop off and pick up expectations, and setting out clothes and backpacks the night before.

A few other tips for the first day of school:

  • Decide with your child the night before what will be for breakfast the next morning.

  • Resist the urge to hang around after dropping your child off. Keep the drop off short to discourage tears from both of you! If your child appears to be tearful try to help him/her become interested in talking to other kids or in an activity at drop off. Lingering around can make it more difficult.

  • Be early. Arriving late makes everyone anxious.

  • Always say "Good bye" and set the expectation for when and where you will see your child after school.

  • Watch for older siblings who may think it's funny to tease younger siblings about the first day. Ask older siblings to help make the transition easier.