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How to Handle First Day Fears (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 20, 2009

Keep the lines of communication open. Encourage your child to express how he’s feeling about the approaching year, but don’t push. Keep in mind that “the one who’s anxious might just be you,” Silverman says. If so, don’t create unnecessary anxiety for him by telling him you’re worried. If you need to talk about your own feelings, share them with your spouse or a friend.

Point out the positives. Remind your child of the fun she’ll have with old friends, and the adventure of making new friends. Talk about the sports and activities she’ll get to do. If she enjoys science, point out the experiences she’ll have in her new grade level, such as studying about space or using a Bunsen burner.

Make new friends ahead of time. If you’ve moved to a new area, or your child is starting a new school where he doesn’t know anyone, help him meet some classmates before his first day. Request a class list from the school, and approach one or more of the neighborhood parents about setting up a time to hang out. “He may not find his best friend this way,” Silverman says, “but he’ll be a lot less anxious that first day.”

With all the new people, places, situations and schedules your child will face during back to school week, it’s likely he’ll be anxious about something. By helping him address his fears to make the unfamiliar, familiar, you’ll enable him to overcome his anxiety and begin a successful and enjoyable new year.

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