Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back To School Anxiety

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Going back to school can be  anxiety producing for most kids and their parents.  My daughter Gigi will be going into fourth grade.  By now she has gotten used to the fact that she will have a new teacher and different kids in her class each year.  In the past she has gotten so worked up about this fact only to find that she loves her teacher and makes friends with kids that she normally wouldn't have gotten to know if they weren't in her class. 

When we get the class assignments in the mail, we start calling around to find out which friends will be in her class.  If some of her buds are in her class this helps alleviate some stress right away.  Otherwise we have the "You will make new friends" talk.  Luckily she has two good friends in her class this year, phew!  I also tried to make going back a little more fun for her.  I usually cut her hair but thought taking her to the salon where I go would be more fun for both of us.  This gave us something fun to do together and she loves her new haircut!  I also took her to get her ears pierced, something she has been begging to do for years. 

She is so excited about her hair, ear rings and the few new clothes she got, that much of the anxiety has been reduced for her.  Now what works for Gigi doensn't always work for my son Jack.  I'm beginning to feel as though being a mom is one big school of learning.  Just when I think I have my kids and their needs figured out, they go and change on me LOL!

My son is going into second grade and is usually even more anxious about back to school than my daughter.  This year I really tried to help prepare him.  At the end of last year I requested he have a specific teacher, Mrs. W., who happened to be my daughter's teacher two years before.  He had some trouble with reading in first grade and Mrs W. has a strong background in reading recovery.  I knew he would be attending the Summer reading program which she runs. The program is also held in the building which he will now be in for second through fifth grade. So I was hoping this would get him used to his new surroundings as well.

I also requested that he have atleast one good friend in his class as each previous year he hasn't ended up with a good buddy in his room.  He was also a bit stressed that he couldn't maneuver on the play structure like his friends.  So we have been taking him to play on the school equipment for a little extra practice. 

When you are a mom your child's back to school anxiety can quickly become your own.  You are transported back to a time when you were nervous about the new year ahead.  Anything we can do to reduce their stress during this transition will also reduce our own, hopefully.

Now for the hardest trick of all, the one where I take a very deep breathe, relax and trust that my children will be absolutely fine while they are at school and away from me. 

What kind of special things do you do to help reduce the stress and anxiety of back to school?  We would LOVE to hear about them.


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  1. It's good that you've taken initiatives to help them conquer their stress and haven't increased the stress level by letting them see what is going on in your head.
    May they each have a fabulous year!

  2. LOL! You are so right Rachel. I definitely TRY to keep it cool on the outside. I've also learned that by taking pro active steps I can feel as though I've done what I could and the rest will just work out in time.


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