Back-to-school fears. Similar to fears of the monster under the bed and that fear of an open closet door, they are totally not at all logical, but nonetheless, can be pretty intense. How do we help our kiddos deal with it? I've done my reading, folks, and it seems there are three main things we can do to hopefully turn the knob on the Jitter Meter from a level 9 down to a 1. The funny thing: they are all pretty simple to do.
-- Keep your own stress level low. You may be just as nervous as your kids. Maybe your son had a rough year last year, and you are stressed about how this year will go. Perhaps of your daughter's BFFs all were assigned a different homeroom, and you are worried about them still including her. Maybe you started a new job, and you aren't sure how you are going to juggle pickups. Kids are going to pick up on your stress level, so do what you can do to ease it so it doesn't add to theirs.
-- Devise a good morning routine. If every morning is stressful and hectic, it's only going to make your kids' worries that much worse. Talk about how mornings will go, leave plenty of time to get to bus stops or to school so there isn't another issue of being late. Do a trial run to see how long it will take to drive or walk to school, and beginning the week before the first day, get up at the new school morning time so there's no oversleeping issues. Another hint: make a morning schedule for everyone in the house, and post it so the whole family knows what to do in the morning.
-- Remember the power of a comfort item. Go shopping for a small stuffed animal friend that your kiddo can keep in his or her backpack. Name him, talk about how he's there just for your child. Tucked away in the bottom of the backpack -- no one else has to even know he's there, but your child knows. Having a comfort item, even for older elementary kids, can be all that's needed to get over the back-to-school fears.
How do you help tame your kids' back-to-school fears?