Ace Your Back-to-School Anti-Anxiety Parenting Test

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Have there been aspects of sending your child back to school in the fall that have caused you or your child anxiety, either this year or in the past? Typical culprits are: changing schools, staying on top of schoolwork and getting homework in on time, dealing with bullies or shifting friendships, and participating in extracurricular activities.

While all of these affect children directly, parents often feel as much or more anxiety, observing and co-managing from the sidelines.

As for parental anxiety, aside from hoping their child will be safe and successful both academically and socially, nothing is more important to most parents during the busy school season than making sure all the logistics go smoothly (…and life being what it is, nothing goes smoothly all the time, so that tends to be a pretty big challenge!).

To minimize your own anxiety it’s essential to create predictability with a clear, consistent schedule that you and your child stick to as much as possible. Then be sure to have contingency plans so you always know what “Plan B” is should something not work out as expected. Knowing what to expect will keep your logistical anxiety to a minimum.

Now that you have a strategy for managing your own anxiety, you can focus on anticipating what might cause your child to feel anxious or fearful. Then you can put strategies in place for heading off as many of those situations as possible.

Here are some tips for avoiding any unnecessary anxiety your child might experience throughout the coming year:

1. If your child’s school year hasn’t started yet, bring your child to the school a day before classes start to meet their teacher, organize their desk and/or locker, and see exactly where their classroom is. This advance trip is absolutely essential if the school is a new one very helpful if their school is new to them. It’s also extremely helpful if classrooms are spread out over a wide area or in a confusing layout.

2. Help your child get and stay organized by shopping with them for color-coordinated folders for each class notebook. Label everything with their name and the class or subject they’ll be used for.

3. Ask the school if it’s possible to have a second set of textbooks you can keep at home. That way if your child ever forgets their text book at school, they’ll still be able to do their assignment and get their homework in on time. This has the added bonus of lightening their backpack load traveling to and from school every day, providing a welcome break for kids who have back issues…and those who want to avoid developing them!

4. If you drive your child to school, build it into your schedule to always get to school early, so your child has time to get settled in. If they take a bus, be sure to get them to the bus stop in plenty of time to be assured they won’t risk missing it.

5. Do the same at the end of the day by arriving early to pick your child up. While children old enough to have phones at schools that allow them can always call to see if you’re on your way, the fear of being forgotten about, or that something is wrong, can kick in very quickly.

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As common sense and simple as these daily actions may seem, many people who try to do them once or twice conclude they are unachievable, because their lives are so busy, demanding and unpredictable.

But that’s the surprising secret: when you consistently make “small” choices like these a real priority, you would be amazed what a powerful difference it makes. By freeing you from the emotional drain of reacting in the moment when time frames are too tight and things go wrong, you give yourself the gift of ease and mindfulness to handle things that really matter - reducing the level of anxiety both you and your child have been dealing with.


Susan Greif  (www.ArtMendsHearts.com)  is a Creative Transformational Expert and Healing Arts Professional who uses the expressive, creative and healing arts to help women and children find emotional freedom from anxieties that kept them feeling paralyzed, panicked and in pain. Her clients learn how to let go of anxiety, depression, trauma, abuse, relationship issues, eating disorders and learning disabilities.

Susan Greif (www.ArtMendsHearts.com) is a Creative Transformational Expert and Healing Arts Professional who uses the expressive, creative and healing arts to help women and children find emotional freedom from anxieties that kept them feeling paralyzed, panicked and in pain. Her clients learn how to let go of anxiety, depression, trauma, abuse, relationship issues, eating disorders and learning disabilities.


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