With the summer months winding down, and the back to school sales in full force, it’s probably time for you and your child to start the annual transition from summer camp to school! For many children, this transition is filled with excitement and happiness. For others, the worry monster might be just around the corner. Children might demonstrate tearfulness, tantrums, and frustration due to their anxiety about school.
Below are a couple suggestions to help you and your anxious child get through the first few days back at school:
Create a School Day Routine
The structure of the school day might look a lot different than your child’s summer schedule. Before school begins:
- Create a morning routine with a timeline of activities your child will need to accomplish. Depending on your child’s level of independence, think about how much supervision your child will need for each task.
- Remember to adjust your child’s wake up time to fit the school day schedule if it had changed during the summer. Helping your child create this routine prior to the first day of school will allow your child to understand what is expected and can lead to lower levels of worry.
Separation from parents in the first few days of school can be traumatic. For younger children, a handful of difficult drop offs is age-appropriate and should decrease over time as your child acclimates to this new routine. One way to support your child through this transition can be through allowing them to bring something to school that reminds them of mom and dad. Transitional objects should be small and minimally distracting in class. A special key chain, small plush toy, or laminated picture of the family can be used for this. Remind your child to hold or look at these objects if they are feeling worried or missing home.
If you notice that your child is having a harder than expected time, their functioning in school is being impacted, or their anxiety about school is not subsiding, reach out for additional support.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!