Back to school jitters, tips for Suncoast parents

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 10:49 am | Updated: 11:18 am, Fri Aug 9, 2013.

It’s August and many families are beginning to turn their sights to the upcoming school year.

Some kids may be more excited about it than others.

Dr. Wendy Cunningham, a child psychologist at Cleveland Clinic said 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.“

Dr. Cunningham explained that 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. She said middle-schoolers worry about homework and possibly changing classes for the first time. 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 Dr. Cunningham said 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 OK.”

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