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Back to school jitters
September 13, 2010
by Jenni Sebora

By now, our kids have had a few days in school. Some are returning and some attending for the first time. Regardless, going to school can be stressful for children.

There are ways to ease into school after a long summer break. First, take time to listen to your child. What are they telling you? This will go a long way in helping them out. Many issues can be resolved by establishing a routine for both you and your child that will stem problems from forgotten items, tardiness and the like.

Is there a problem with the bus? Review with your child bus pickup and drop off times. If there is a problem getting to the bus on time, it may be an indication of not getting to bed on time or not getting up early enough. If there is a problem with another student on the bus, address it immediately with the bus company or school officials.

You can better understand your child’s school issues by actually taking a tour of the school to get an understanding of the school’s layout and how they can efficiently get to class. Make sure they can open their lock of their locker. (Do they need to simply practice the lock combination?) It may be common sense, but even knowing where bathrooms are can ease tensions about being late for class.

Lunchtime concerns can be alleviated by discussing the school menu in advance. Make sure that your child has adequate lunch money or that there is sufficient money in your children’s lunch account. If you routinely bring a lunch, make sure that it is packed and ready to go and that there is at least some of it that your child will actually eat.

Perhaps the hardest of all is trying to make a connection with other students, or fitting in. If your child’s best friend has moved, or your child is going to a new school, be sensitive to their new situation. You can look upon this situation as an opportunity to have your son or daughter widen their group of friends. If permissible, see if you can obtain a class list from the school – there may be names on the list you recognize. You may see your own friends or acquaintances at school functions; ask what grade their child is in and hopefully, make a connection.

If developing friends at school isn’t working, the logical alternative then is to have your child involved in activities outside of school. Dance class, 4-H, and community education programs are examples of great opportunities for your child to make new friends. Schoolmates of your child may be involved in these activities as well and that may be the common link needed to open some friendship doors at school.

Encourage your child to talk to their teacher or coach about problems they may be having “fitting in.” You can visit these same people to get insight about how to help your child.

With patience, listening, and advocacy, both you and your child can feel better about the school year