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Back-to-School Tips for Anxious Kids!

back to school supplies

Are your kids feeling anxious about going back to school? Perhaps they’re starting school for the first time this year or returning to in-person after doing virtual. Here are some tips to help them ease their worries and transition into the new school year.

Establish and practice a back-to-school routine: If you’ve been enjoying the summer and the late sunsets then most likely your kids have been going to bed late. Don’t wait until the Sunday before school starts to establish new bedtimes. Start pushing bedtime earlier and earlier, a little each day, starting around the week before school starts. Help your kids with the school morning routine by giving them a checklist, for young kids, a visual checklist of what needs to be done can be helpful. For older children, try using a wipe board checklist that can be reused. The dollar store has great supplies for this. Keep it simple; Get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and pack a bag. Completing the list before school sets your kids up for success, by starting the day off with a feeling of accomplishment. 

Go over the basics: Try to get your hands on your school’s schedule – let your kids know what time recess/lunchtime is, how the day pans out. If you know where their classroom is in relation to the bathroom, draw them a map. Show them where the exits are in the school. Knowing the answers to these questions can help your child feel prepared. 

Involve your child in getting ready for back-to-school. Including your child in some aspect of getting ready for back-to-school can help parents have a natural conversation about back-to-school and can get them excited. Give them some choices if you’re buying new supplies, a choice can be between two items as opposed to overwhelming them by choosing between a big selection. Letting your child make the choice helps them to feel independent and more in control. 

Take your child to visit the school. Take your child to their school – if possible have them visit their classroom, walk the halls and check out the lunch room. If not possible, even visiting the grounds of the school and familiarizing themselves with the playground, etc can be helpful.  Children learn through their senses so direct exposure can help them learn and understand what to expect. It is also beneficial to rehearse the commute to school. On the walk or during the car ride talk with your child about what they’re seeing, counting the number of stop signs, traffic lights etc. This helps them to know how the route works.

Five year old boy with hands painted in colorful paints ready for hand prints


Nikki is the owner/director of Seasons Family Centre. She completed a diploma in photography at Fanshawe College, followed by a degree in psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Shortly after she finished a post-graduate diploma at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. She is a Registered Canadian Art Therapist. Over the next few years she extended her education through various courses in psychology, counselling and play therapy at George Brown College, Hincks Delcrest and Cross Country Education. For the past several years Nikki has been running art programs all across the city of Toronto at various schools, community centres, libraries and private homes. She also runs play therapy groups at Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Offices as well as private art therapy sessions. Nikki has taken several courses in baking and cake decorating through the Wilton certification program.

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