Tips for easing back-to-school anxiety

School is underway in most parts of the country. Some children may have started several weeks ago, while others began after Labor Day. In any case, those first few days of school are over and the school routine is getting established. Some children skip into school and into the school routine without missing a beat - it almost seems as though they never left. Other children enter the school experience with more anxiety and hesitance, and this is understandable. New experiences can be intimidating, especially for little ones.

Back to school activity pack

This “Back To School” e-book is designed to spark conversations with children regarding their school experience and feelings about starting school, as well as provide opportunities for honing important skills. Even if your child is calm and confident, these pages can be an enjoyable (and structured) way for him to think about and discuss his school experience as well as have fun practicing skills.

The first page shows a detailed picture of a school classroom. Prompt your child to point out ways in which his classroom is like the one in the picture and also ways in which his classroom is different. You might want to write down your child’s ideas and number them so that he can conclude whether his classroom is more or less like the illustrated school room. Or perhaps your child can circle all the details that are like his classroom with a red crayon and then circle all the ways the classroom picture is different than his with a blue crayon. Ask your child to say aloud his observations. Use the questions on the second page to guide your discussions. In addition to practicing communication skills, this activity gives young children opportunities to hone auditory processing skills, visual discrimination skills, and social and emotional skills.

The next three pages allows for further exploration of feelings. In addition to identifying feelings, children are asked to use “feelings words” to describe emotions. Knowing these words helps children communicate their feelings to others and also helps children become aware of other people’s feelings, as well.

The last page may be similar to Journal pages that your child completes at school. Some teachers “take dictation” and write the child’s ideas on the lines to complete the sentence. Other teachers ask children to use inventive spelling by listening to the sounds in the words and writing those sounds on the page. Of course, conventional spelling is not expected at this age. Both inventive spelling and dictation to an adult give children have the opportunity to express their ideas.

I hope your child has a wonderful school year!

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