These fears and anxieties are normal, but stress producing. While you probably can't take away all of these fears and anxieties, there are some things that you can do to help reduce the stress.
- Make sure your child is well-rested. When children (and adults) don't get enough sleep, everything seems worse. By being well-rested, your children are more likely to cope better with the changes in store for them. My children learned to sleep in this summer, so suddenly getting them up at 6:15 would be a real shock to their systems. Of course, after months of staying up till 10, getting them to bed at 8:30 wouldn't be easy either. The best way to get your children back into the school schedule is to start a few weeks out. Every 3-4 nights, get your children to bed 15 minutes earlier. You may notice that your children naturally begin waking earlier, but if not, you may want to start waking them a few minutes earlier. A week before school begins, start waking your children up 15-20 minutes later than the time they will need to be up for school. This will also help them to fall asleep earlier. By the time school gets here, getting up and being well-rested will be old hat.
- Attend open-house or schedule a time for your child to meet their new teacher and see their classroom. Your child visiting their classroom and seeing where they will sit, along with meeting their teacher can alleviate many fears. The fear of the "unknown" is often one of the greatest fears. Open house is a great time to do this, because not only does your child get to see their classroom and meet the teacher, they also get to see their classmates.
- A great way to start the school day is with a nutritious breakfast. Serve up a high protein breakfast for your kids to provide them with all the energy they need to make it through the day. Pack a healthy lunch and snack to boot. High sugary foods will tend to raise energy for just a short time and then your child will crash and feel sluggish and drawn out.
- Talk with your child about any fears they may have. Some children may be able to easily express their fears, but others might have trouble recognizing and labeling fears. You may want to share any back-to-school fears you had as a child or share with your child that it is common for children to have back-to-school fears. Knowing that they are not alone can make your child feel better.