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Back to School: Handling Worries

Heading back to school? Follow these four tips to help your child cope with school anxiety.

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A new school year is exciting, but all that newness can sometimes feel scary. I'm Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore. Here are 4 ways to help your child handle back to school worries. Help your child know what to expect. If he's going to a new school, try to visit before opening day. Find a photo of your child's teacher on the school website, so she'll already seem familiar when your child meets her. An annual back to school ritual like walking with a friend or getting a special treat after school can make the big day seem more predictable. Plan for difficult moments. If your child is worried about a particular situation, come up with a plan for handling it. If your child says, "What if I have no one to play with at recess?" Ask, "What could you do in that situation?" and then brainstorm solutions like standing in line to use the slide or joining a game of tag. Stay calm about separation. If separating is hard for your child, keep your goodbye short and sweet. Don't talk about how much you'll miss her. Instead, say how much you're looking forward to hearing about her fun day. Remind her where and when you'll meet her and don't be late. Finally, share your confidence in your child's ability to cope. If you're calm and optimistic that your child will manage the back to school transition, it makes it easier for him to be hopeful, too.