Please Log In
Charlene Underhill Miller, PhD
Charlene Underhill Miller, PhD, MFT is a pyschotherapist in private practice, helping parents, children, couples and individuals in southern California. A graduate of UCLA and Fuller School of Psychology, Dr. Miller also is involved in school-based education and consultation.
July 24, 2012Net Nanny for Android 2.0
Aug 19, 2016
With a pit in my stomach, I sat quietly in the back seat of my parents’ car as they drove me to school. Anxious, a bit afraid, and excited too, I imagined in my head just what it would be like. Would I make friends? Whom would I have lunch with? Would I feel stupid or smart? Would I fit in? And were my clothes up to my classmates “standards?”
I was on my way to UCLA, a freshman moving into the dorms.
We often think of those “first day of school jitters” as something our preschooler, kindergartener, or middle schooler feels; however, the unknown produces anxiety for all of us. Whether you have young ones beginning their school journey or a seasoned “first day of schooler,” it is important to understand that much of this anxiety is deeply rooted in the same place—“will I be OK?”
With this understanding, we can help kids of all ages and stages with much of those first day of school nerves. Here are seven ways how to help them deal with first day of school anxiety:
Your empathic gestures and loving words will connect to your child’s fears and experiences. Don’t diminish those feelings or tell them not to worry. Don’t punish them or threaten them for feeling the way that they do.
Rather, engage in open, understanding conversations about what might feel helpful to them. And if either one of you continues to feel unhappy or overwhelmed, be open to exploring outside resources with your doctor, therapist, or school administrators. Remember, if you are positive and at peace, those feelings are more likely to transfer to your child.