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Your Healthy Family: "Test-run" of school day can ease a child's anxiety

Posted at 10:10 AM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 08:11:35-04

If your child is nervous about heading back to school, mental health experts say doing a test-run of the first day of school can help.

The Child Mind Institute said any opportunity for exposure and repetition can help your kids feel confident heading into the first day of school.

"Anything you can do to prepare ahead of time is going to put their mind at ease and make them a little more comfortable on day one," Jody Baumstein, a Licensed Therapist for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life, said.

She said you can drive the bus route or drop-off route with your child so they know what to expect. If you can, go to your child's school ahead of time so you can help them find the right classroom. Also, encourage your kids to practice with things they'll be using on their own, like finding things in their backpack. And meet up with other kids who go to the same school, so there are familiar faces on that first day.

"Anxiety can come from fear of the unknown, so for some kids what's going to be most helpful is just really familiarizing them with certain things related to going to school," Baumstein said.