My father was in the Air Force, so every once and a while, I would head to a new school in a new city where I knew no one. Talk about having back-to-school nerves. For me, I was okay with new teachers, getting around the hallways and such. For me, the biggest fear: who I would eat lunch with. We've chatted about overall fears of heading back to school, but for many kids, it could be one specific thing they are getting a little freaked out about. If your older kids are heading back to school and seem okay, but maybe a little "off," see of one of these things are troubling them:
-- Combination locks. I mean, who doesn't remember this anxiety? This is a doozy, but easily remedied: nab your tween a lock to practice on in the weeks leading up to school. Also, when she does get her combination, help her memorize it and come up with tricks to remember it.
-- Harder classes. It is a totally normal feeling to be concerned about keeping up with the work. We've all been there. Support your child by reminding him of what he is good at and think of strategies that he can use if he's a little overwhelmed - or to prevent getting overwhelmed to begin with. Having a set study schedule, a calendar where he can track what is do when and plan out when to tackle what projects and so on can enable him to be on top of everything, even if it is more work than last year.
-- Not being in class with the BFFs. As classes get mixed around in elementary school or when everyone has a different schedule in middle school and high school, it can really throw off a kid when she's not with her good buddies. Once you get the class lists or figure out which kids share your child's homeroom, set up a few playdates or social time for them to get to know each other. Also, to keep the bonds with the older friends, try making a set time when she can see them each week or every other week after school.
What about the first day of school makes your kids nervous?