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As summer vacation quickly comes to a close, parents are often filled with a sense of relief and a bit of anxiety about the coming school year. It’s important to remember our kids feel this stress too. The first week of school can be a tough one, from getting used to early bed times and rushed mornings, to adjusting to a new teacher and new faces in the classroom. Like most adults, children can experience feelings of stress and anxiety brought on by change and new environments (both things common in back to school week).

How do you know if your child is stressed?
Parents should be extra aware of stress signs during back to school week. Although they differ in each child, some universal symptoms include:
Temper tantrums
Lack of appetite
Unusual sleeping patterns

What Can a Parent do to Relieve Back to School Jitters?
The good news is, with this high level of anxiety comes a wonderful opportunity for bonding with your child. When emotions are running high during back to school week, tap into how your child is feeling and open the lines of communication. You just might be surprised at what you hear when you are available to listen! If they can’t express themselves verbally, allow them to draw a picture. This allows them to express themselves, and enjoy the therapy art provides.

In addition to simply asking your child how they feel about going back to school, try these light hearted tips to help your child beat the back to school jitters!

Send Lunch Box Love Notes
Although you can’t physically be with your child during the school day, you can still make an impact on their mood. Try sneaking words of encouragement, funny jokes, or simply a sweet hello into your child’s lunch or snack box. If you find yourself at a loss for words, try the pre-printed notes made by SAY PLEASE that include fun and educational facts for kids.

School Supplies Treasure Hunt
Part of back to school jitters include feelings of excitement. Help your child identify this feeling by planning a fun scavenger hunt at your home. The week or few days prior to the first day of school, leave a trail of clues in and around your home, leading your child on a fun treasure hunt. The final prize can be a basket of school supplies and educational items that will help them through the school year!

Table Talk Question Box
As always, keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important for parents and children during any stressful time. To get your child talking, fill a jar with kid friendly questions and keep it on your dining room table for before or after school chat sessions. The questions can be simple (“what’s your favorite animal?”) or elaborate (“What do you think makes your family special?”), the important thing is to get your child talking!

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