Back to School Blues

It’s that time of year again!  New school clothes, new school supplies, new teachers, and unfortunately for some students – new anxieties.  While a student may be happy to see thier friends again, more worrisome is getting to know a new teacher, a new routine, and learning more challenging material when deep down they know that they still struggle with last year’s concepts.

For our students with learning disabilities, it’s important to provide supports both emotionally and academically at the beginning of the new school year to make sure they get off to a strong start.

According to John Piacentini, PhD and Director of UCLA Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support Center, there are a few simple things you can do to help as the first day approaches:

1. Talk to them specifically about the transition with three questions:  What can we do together to make going back easier for you?  What do you like about school?  Is there anything specific that is worrying you about this new year?  Together, these three questions show that you acknowledge your child’s struggle and it’s okay that they have these feelings; but also that you are going to problem-solve the solutions together in an active manner.

2. Along those lines, show your kids through your words and actions that you are confident in thier ability to push through thier fears and that you will be avaliable to help them as needed.

3. Help them be organized by planning extra time for morning routines, practicing AM and PM routines, getting supplies organized and color-coded (see this article for some great tips!)

4. Give them choices where you can!  This is probably one of the most important things overlooked by parents, but that can help to counter-balance the sense of “doom” that a student can feel being “forced” into a new situation.  Just being able to take hold of little choices like what they will wear, or what they can eat for breakfast, or what they can pack for a snack helps to gain back a sense of control.

5. Reach out for support.  Teachers and school administrators are in the business of helping children be successful.  Let them know of your child’s concerns and get them on your team from the start.  If you know you will need extra tutoring, look into getting that set up early so it becomes part of the school-week routine.

6. Don’t forget to build in time for fun!  Reserve time after school and on the weekends to let your child unwind, do things that bring them joy, or engage in activities of thier choice.

For even more tips, you can go here: Back-to-School Anxiety in Kids

Happy Back to School!