Tips for Calming Back to School Nerves

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    August 18, 2021 -- Back to school can be a stressful time for both students and parents. With help from our partners at Bright Horizons, our Family Engagement team has identified some tips and strategies to help address nervous feelings. 

    Remember, after spending all summer at home after a year of home-based blending learning, young children might be anxious about spending time apart and starting a new routine.

    Here are a few ideas to reduce anxiety: 

    • Allow your child to express their feelings. Be honest and encouraging about your own feelings, while also setting a positive tone about the future. Say, “Being apart is tricky and I’m going to miss you, too. I’m really proud of you for going to school.”
    • Practice your new routine. Begin your new back-to-school schedule three to five days prior to the first day. Remember to wake up early enough to incorporate time for everything that needs to get done such as eating breakfast, gathering belongings, and catching the bus. Talk through any questions they may have.
    • Maintain a bedtime schedule. Changes to sleep schedules have the potential to affect our emotions and behavior. So set a bedtime schedule and stick to it. And adjust the time you wake up in the morning to help you start your day feeling calm and unrushed.
    • Establish a special goodbye. Create a separation ritual, such as two fist bumps, or a kiss on each cheek, or giving your child a special saying, such as “See you later, alligator!” If consistently used, this ritual signals to your child that you are separating, but they are safe and loved.  
    • Talk positively about the school-day routine. Children often adopt the attitudes held by the adults in their lives, so it’s important to be a role model of positivity even in times of uncertainty.

    For more tips and strategies, connect with the Family Ambassador at your child’s school or visit our Office of Engagement online at