Helping your kids with back-to-school jitters


It's time for kids to be heading back to school, but some children may be more excited than others.  Dr. Wendy Cunningham is a child psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.  She says there are lots of reasons kids get "back-to-school jitters."

"Is my teacher going to be nice? Will my teacher like me? What kids are going to be in my classroom? Can I make good connections with friends and classmates," said Cunningham.

Cunningham says younger school children may be anxious about being away from mom and dad all day.  Elementary school kids start to worry more about their teacher and if they will get to see their friends.

The psychologist says middle-schoolers worry about homework and possibly changing classes for the first time.  She says the best way to confront this anxiety is to make them familiar with their new surroundings.

"Being involved in the open houses, allowing them to walk through the hallway, showing them where their locker is, especially for the kids who have to switch between classes," said Cunningham.

She also recommends taking any opportunity to meet your child's teacher. You may also get their class schedule and walk the path with them, offering  time-management tips.

But Cunningham says the best thing parents can do is to remain positive- even if you're having some "back-to-school jitters" yourself.

"It's probably the biggest tip I give parents. Be sure you're managing your own anxiety about it because the kids really need us as the adults to be encouraging and show confidence that they can do it and it's going to be okay," she said.

Cunningham says it's important for parents to share similar experiences they may have had in school and draw on them for their children.