Easing back to school anxiety for both students and parents

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Day-by-day, schools are opening for the new year. Some students can't wait to get to class - others aren't so sure. And some parents may be a little anxious, too.

It's normal to be a bit worried about something new. But experts say a little reassurance and some practice goes a long way.

Jessica Kendorski, a school psychologist and professor at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, says as kids start a new school year some level of anxiety is normal. It comes from not knowing what to expect.

"There's the transition, the routine is different, they're not sure if they're going to have the same friends they had before, who their new teacher is going to be..." she said.

She gives three tips to ease the anxiety. First, focus on the positive.

"You let them know last year you were nervous, do you remember but you were brave, you got through it, you found your friend," said Jessica.

Second ask questions so they can talk about their fears. Third, get back into a routine and explain how the day will work.

"The more predictable you can make your child's schedule and what is going to happen throughout the day, the more secure they will feel," said Jessica.

She says this is especially helpful for kids with disabilities and suggests doing a few practice runs as well.

"Because if there is some anxiety and emotions are running high, you want to be able to dress rehearse it so you are there and you're not at a point where you are sending them away and you cant work through all of those emotions," said Jessica.

Parents also have to work through their emotions. If you're anxious, your kids will likely pick up on it, so remember to tell yourself what you tell your kids.

"That well get through this transition, we will be okay," said Jessica.

If you notice your child is very resistant to going back to school, more than usual, or if they seem to be overwhelmed by anxiety, then it's a good idea to talk to a school psychologist to find other ways to help.


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