“Anxiety stems from a fear of the unknown,” says Patel. “A new school year means a lot of changes. For some, it could also mean a new school, a new classroom, new teachers, and even a new peer group.”
To quell these fears, especially for the younger ones, she encourages parents to take advantage of orientation sessions schools typically offer before school begins.
Kids are more likely to feel comfortable once they’ve had a chance to visit the school and walk around. Patel adds that parents can do even more to “remove the fear factor by pulling up the school website, looking at teacher bios, and maybe even sharing the pictures with their kids.”
If your child’s school doesn’t offer orientations prior to the first day, Patel encourages parents to reach out to the school principal, administrators, or directors and ask for an individual 15-minute meet and greet. You can also ask for (or take) an informal tour to find out what their lockers are, where the cafeteria is, and other important touch points your child may need during the day.
“This is especially important for kids who are nervous or those who need a little more reassurance,” says Patel.
If you’re worried about not getting access, keep in mind that teachers and office administrators are often there anyway, getting things ready, and many would happily take some time to help a future student.