Back to School Tips from @KidsHelpPhone

While the start of a new school year can be exciting for many kids and parents alike, young people can also experience feelings of nervousness, anxiety, stress, and tension.

Transitioning to a new grade, changing schools, getting new teachers, and making friends are all examples of the types of concerns young people can have ahead of September.

Back to school anxiety can affect any young person, no matter their age, but there are ways parents can help their kids feel supported at this time of year.
Back to School Tips from Kids Help Phone
Have a talk. Ask your kid what they’re thinking and feeling about the new school year.

Open up their perspective. Kids might say, “I’ve heard my new school is really violent,” or, “everyone takes drugs there.” Talk about where that perception is coming from. Media stories, older siblings, or friends can influence a young person’s perspective. Reassure your kid that not every student in their new school will be doing the same things, or making the same choices.

Empower them to say no. If they are worried about peer pressure, encourage them to trust their own judgment, and teach them how to say no.

Help set realistic expectations. A new year can bring a lot of changes: different friends, different clubs and sports teams, and different teachers, especially for kids who are changing schools.

For example, the most popular kids in their graduating class might not be the most popular at their new school. A kid who is leaving their favourite teacher behind might not create the same kind of bond with their new teacher.

Listen to what your kid is telling you about how they are feeling about going back to school and get them thinking about steps they can take to adjust to the transition so that they feel prepared when they head back to class.

Help them grasp reality. Over the summer, kids can have a lot of time to imagine scenarios that might start to seem overwhelming. A kid’s biggest fear about the new school year probably won’t come true. Help them be realistic about their worries by asking about them. Try to find out what their fears are based on, and ask, “what if it doesn’t happen that way?” Start getting them to think about other possibilities.

Remember, you and your kid can always visit together to find information about friendship, school, and more.

And if a young person wants to reach out on their own, they can always speak to a professional Kids Help Phone counsellor, 24/7, for more tips about going back to school: 1-800-668-6868.

I highly recommend that you post this number somewhere visible in your house and have a chat with your children about it before school starts. It might be comforting to know that there is someone out there who will listen to them if they need to talk and do not feel comfortable or want to talk to you! As much as that might be hard for us as parents to grasp, what is most important is that they talk to someone if in need!

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