Back-to-school transitions can be stressful for some students
With the opening of school fast approaching, many New Jersey kids will be moving from lower grades to higher ones, and in some cases to a different school. The change can be stressful for children and their parents.
School transitions can cause anxiety for all age groups, but for most kids, it's normal.
"If everybody is a little stressed out, a little worried, you know, concerned about it - that's okay," said Steven Tobias, a child psychologist and director of the Center for Child Family Development in Morristown. "The other thing to remember is that everybody makes the transition. Everybody will be okay. The kids will adapt to the different circumstances - the demands, the increasing demands of the new school, the new kids and whatever."
Tobias said some angst is normal and that the hard part for most kids when making a school transition is the fear of the unknown.
Parents can help reassure kids that their experiences in school this year will probably be similar to those the year before. So if a kid studied and worked hard, they probably will receive similar grades to the ones they got the year prior.
And while the transition may prove to be a bit stressful to start with, most kids will end up making the adjustment just fine. There are exceptions though.
"If a child is overly stressed by the new school, getting help with that sooner rather than later is best. But those are rare situations, and if you can anticipate that the kid will have a problem, I would really seek out help before schools starts. I would at least consult with somebody, either at the school or privately about how to handle that transition," Tobias said.
There are things that parents can do that will help ease the worry of school transitions.
Parents can help by setting up schedules before school starts for tasks such as homework and extracurricular activities. In addition, Tobias said it helps to get kids, especially younger ones, into their routines early in the school year, especially if they're in a new school.
A good night's sleep also plays a key role in helping kids through their school transition, according to Tobias.
For more tips on back-to-school transitions from the National Association of School Psychologists, click here