Across Western New York, September means back to school, getting ready to head back into a classroom. This time is often filled with excitement and enthusiasm, but these emotions also frequently come with anxiety and uncertainty. Understanding and addressing these emotions can go a long way in helping ease the transition into the school year, and ultimately lead to a better experience at school. Thus, resulting in a greater chance for academic success! Most children have some back-to-school jitters, though anxiety can persist and snowball into a more complex issue.
Some common themes that persist are as follows:
“Common worries children may feel are: will my friends still like me? Who will my teachers be, and will they like me? Will I be able to get good grades under new pressure? They may also feel nervous about their new environment, new classroom, new structure, and new routines. The added stress of a transition year – elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to college creates a whole set of worries that may range from “where will I eat lunch” to “will I be safe in this new environment.” (University of Utah Health, 2021)
As a parent or caregiver knowing this may stress you out, but it is important to know that the fears of your child are completely normal and with your help will likely subside! Some simple steps to take to relieve this stress are as follows:
- Validate the emotions!
- Acknowledge worries, but also challenge unrealistic worries.
- Shift into a routine before school begins.
- Work with your child to come up with solutions: working together to find a solution will be rewarding.
- Keep attending school: data proves attendance is key!
- Build a positive relationship with educators.
- Check in with your community: people with shared experiences are always great resources.
Going back to school might be a difficult time for a child in your life, but there are many resources to alleviate anxiety and make the September back to school transition an easy one.