Dealing with a case of the back-to-school jitters? These tips will help!
Remember how nerve wracking those first days of school felt after long summers of kicking back, blissfully free of homework and classrooms? There may be a lot to miss about being a kid, but probably not that.
If your child is wrestling with that anxiety as the first day approaches, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips to help your kid (and you) cope with back-to-school jitters and feel ready to take on a new school year.
How to Help Them Cope With Back-to-school Jitters
1. Let ‘em know it’s normal.
Struggling to get back into the groove of waking up early, and facing new teachers, new classmates and new challenges is nearly universal. Let them know you’ve been there and that their peers are probably experiencing the same thing. Help them understand there is nothing weird or wrong with feeling nervous, and reassure them that it’ll pass.
2. Lean into the excitement.
Sometimes you don’t know how much you’ll love something until you dive in. Remind them of all the times they may have been scared of something that turned out to be fun. Whether it’s learning how to skateboard, taking the first plunge off the high dive or making a new friend, one of the best things about life is that even things that seem scary can turn into something wonderful.
3. Get ahead of the routine.
Ever feel extra restless when you’ve got a big, early day ahead of you? Kids are no different. So start getting them used to the new routine a few days in advance. That might mean setting a morning alarm, preparing outfits the night before, figuring out breakfast and bath schedules (or all of the above). Whatever your routine is, it’ll also make things less stressful for you when the big day arrives.
4. Put them in control.
It’s no fun being pushed into a big change you don’t feel ready for. Ease that feeling of helplessness by giving them a voice when it comes to things they can control. When shopping for school supplies, let them pick their pencils and folders and backpacks. Let them (if possible) pick their outfits and favorite food for breakfast. No matter how trivial it may seem, even little choices help.
5. Make books your friend.
We may not always have the perfect answers and solutions to soothe our kiddos through life’s challenges, but that’s what books are for! From silly picture books to comics and chapter books, there are tons of amazing options out there with relatable characters and teachable moments to help them sort out their feelings. Check out this Back to School collection on Epic Unlimited: From topics kids love to engaging ways to read, these books will get your kid excited to get back to the classroom. Until Aug. 31, you can get 25% Off an annual subscription plus a free backpack!
Here are just a couple picks included in the collection:
6. Empower them with the right skills.
There’s no better time like Back to School to start building lifelong coping skills like identifying and expressing emotions. Ask them what physical sensations they experience when they feel worried or scared. Are they blushing? Feeling sweaty? Clenching their hands? Encourage awareness and help them self soothe. Some tactics include:
- Asking for space or time alone to calm down
- Taking and slowly counting deep breaths until they feel better
- Holding a comfort item such as a bracelet or a stress ball
- Turning to a creative outlet like a craft or painting
- Focusing the senses: Counting down 5 things they can see, 4 things they can touch, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell and 1 thing they can taste.
- Dancing it out!
For more tips on building emotional well-being and dealing with challenges like back-to-school jitters, check out this post.
Last but not least, have fun, embrace optimism and stay calm. Because at the end of the day, you’re the most powerful role model. Here’s to a positive, low-stress Back to School!