The idea of going back to school may stir up some mixed emotions for many children. You might be lucky and have a kiddo who is excited to be reunited with the school system, eager to see friends, and hungry for a fresh start in a new year. However, you could have the opposite; a student who is dreading leaving home, scared for the new, and unwilling to leave your side. If you do have a child who is fearful of the new school year, there is help to get the little one back on the school track.
Student bonding with teacher and other kids.
Your child is most likely nervous to leave the house because it means they will be leaving you; a safe, supportive adult who makes them feel secure. Promoting your child to bond with their new teacher could help them know that there is another safe and supportive adult who can keep them safe outside of the home. The same thing can be said with other classmates. Your child might feel safer knowing that they have a friend who is experiencing the same nervousness as they are.
Find a piece of home to take to school.
Find a special (and reasonable) item for your child to take to school with them as a reminder of home. Items may include a picture, a rock found at the neighborhood park, or a short note you wrote them. Allowing your child to hold on to an important item that reminds them of home provides a small comfort to help them through when homesickness kicks in.
Before and after school routines.
Develop rituals that occur before and after school so your child always has something to look forward to, even while they are away at school. Having a morning ritual that you and your child share will validate that you love your child and like spending time with them. An after school ritual helps to remind your child that even though they were gone all day, you still love them and missed them. This is also a great time for your child to share how their day went!
Emotional expression and validation.
It is important to take the time to listen to your child’s emotions, no matter how irrational they may seem. By being able to talk about their emotions, your child will become more comfortable sharing these things. Through the process of talking about our feelings, tell your child how you hear what they are saying and that it is okay to feel that way. But also, remind them that you still love them, their teacher still cares for them, and that they made it through the day okay.