Helping kids overcome back to school anxiety


CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Many kids are beginning their first full week of school and for some it’s the first day! Getting back to the books and busy schedules can be overwhelming. Parents may be as anxious as the kids, but there are some ways to reduce stress and help our kids succeed in the classroom.

“It’s a big change for them and a big adjustment, sometimes they come in crying.”

Shatekon School Counselor Lisa Di Troia says it is normal for children to be anxious at the beginning of a new school year. It can be especially hard for the little ones, but kids of all ages may have the jitters.

Amanda Nadolny, who stopped by our Backpack Giveaway in Amsterdam, says she senses her children’s nerves.

“Sometimes they share, sometimes they just keep it in, so I always tell them, ‘feel free to talk, I’m here to listen.”

But we as parents can lessen our kids’ school anxiety and set them up for success, while keeping our own anxiety in check.

Shatekon School Psychologist Trish Smith says preparation and routines are key, “Preparing as much as possible the night before whether it’s making lunches or having the child make the lunches and helping to pick out the snacks that they want, packing up the folders in the back packs”

And having designated spots for backpacks and school work at home, also where they do homework and when they do it each day, are routines that benefit students.

“The more that parents can help at home with helping that child become independent, like if they know my folder goes here, they can do that by themselves and that’s what they’re really doing in school,” says Trish Smith.

Establishing consistency with the same dinner and bed times helps too, especially for those with learning disabilities or special needs who may struggle even more with the back to school adjustment.

Emily Patrie, a Special Education Teacher at Shatekon School says, “I think that it’s really critical to know that your child is working so hard during the day. So, if they come home and there is frustration and there is difficulty, just remain consistent.”

What the teacher is saying in school can also conflict with what the parent is saying at home, but there’s a solution:

“Just making sure you contact the Special Ed teacher or classroom teacher within the first 30 days of school and asking about what language do they use.”

Communication with the child’s teacher is beneficial for any child who has an issue. And remember, how parents act, sets the tone for the students.

“Showing as a parent that you’re calmer will help the child.”

Amanda Nadolny says her kids follow her example, “They see I’m upset, they see and they go to school upset too, or they see I’m nervous, they’re nervous.”

As for the homework routine, the experts say, many kids need a little down time, before diving back into the books and that’s okay.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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