Heading back to school after a long summer break can be an exciting time for kids and caregivers. But for some students, the anxiousness of heading back to school may be fueled by fears or worry.
There are some helpful mental strategies for both to adults and kids.

Dr. Stephen Whiteside, a Mayo Clinic child psychologist, offers four tips on how to help kids overcome back-to-school anxiety.

Helping kids with back-to-school worries are fairly straightforward.

Dr. Whiteside recommends staying calm. Realizing that when kids are nervous and worry, they often express that through acting up, being more irritable. “Kids usually take those emotions out on their parents because that’s the safe place to do so,” says Dr. Whiteside.

Some kids might feel overwhelmed at the thought of interacting and reconnecting with peers, which is why Dr. Whiteside suggests parents make efforts to book play dates for kids to reconnect before the new school year.

Hopefully, seeing some of the kids they know through school but don’t see so much during the summer can be helpful.

The main thing to avoid is avoidance.

Finally, making sure kids get good, structured sleep, are eating well, limiting screen time and emphasizing physical activities can help kids feel better. 

“When we feel better, fears and worries are easier to manage,” says Dr. Whiteside.

Keep a smile on your face, a sense of humor and reassuring words.

Make it clear that it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous about change and a combination of nervous and excited to go back to school.