Back to school jitters is such a common theme this time of year. The CBS Early Show interviewed me on this topic recently and the extended video is above. I also just finished a tip book for parents on Back to School Jitters, written after I had received several requests, which you can order here now. The Book, Tears and Fears: 20 Tips to Help Your Children Handle First Day Jitters (Back to School Edition!), provides specific tips as well space to consider how to make the tips work specifically for you and your family. As you know, the more tips you have and employ before school starts, the better!
Here are some of your Back to School Questions Answered:
1- Many kids are headed back to school in just a few short weeks and for some parents and their children this can be a very difficult time. Is it normal for parents AND kids to have jitters about it?
Dr. Robyn: The root of it all is the unknown coupled with wanting everything to go smoothly and the worry that it won’t. When the parents are separated from the children everyone feels a little less “in control.”
2- What are the most common worries children experience before the first day?
Dr. Robyn: The biggest concerns about going school for the first time are:
(1) FRIENDS: Fear of not making friends;
(2) LOST: Fear that they’ll get lost;
(3) TEACHER: Fear that the teacher won’t like them;
(4) PARENTS: Fear of being separated from their parents and that they’ll miss their parents too much;
(5) BUS: Fear of riding the bus
3- What are the most common concerns you hear from parents when it comes to sending their kids off?
Dr. Robyn: Common back to school concerns among parents are:
MISSING THE PARENTS: What if they need me/miss me?,
NEED SOMEONE: What if they need someone and no one will help?,
BULLIED: What if they’re bullied?,
HURT: What if they get hurt?,
UNFAIR: What if they are being treated unfairly?
ACT OUT: What if they behave poorly?
4- You have some tips to make the transition better for parents and kids…..let’s start with the PARENTS. On page ___ you mention that its important that parents don’t discuss their back-to-school jitters with their children. How important is it for parents to NOT discuss their concerns with their children?
Dr. Robyn: It’s easy to get caught up in your child’s apprehension, especially when you’re nervous yourself. Be careful not to reflect back their worries or put your own concerns on them. Don’t anticipate failure! When children feel unsure, they rely on their parents to tell them and show them that everything is going to be alright. Parents are like superheroes in their children’s lives. If the parents are unsure, the worry your child feels will likely be exacerbated. The children might think—what do they know that I don’t know? Or, is this really good/safe/right for me? Looking at your face and body language will tell them the answer.
5- Does it help parents to discuss their concerns with friends?
Dr. Robyn: Absolutely. This is the time to seek out friends and family who have already been through this transition. How did they successfully get through it? What support do they wish they had had? What would they have done differently and what would they have done the same on that first day? And just knowing that you are not the only one to feel these mixed feelings can make a parent feel more settled.
We’ll be back soon with another volume of “Back to School Jitters.” Be sure to check back!