It may be difficult enough getting your children and house ready for back to school. But what may be the hardest is when your children are dreading the return. Whether it’s the actual learning or just spending so much time at school, it can feel overwhelming to begin a whole other year of school. Here are a few ways to help lift the burden for both you and your kids with the return to school.

Acknowledge the Change

Your child may be apprehensive of school starting as they are going to a new school building, or entering a new grade, such as high school. Maybe they’re apprehensive as a few friends moved away, and they think they won’t know anyone or have any friends right away. Or maybe they just want to continue sleeping in like they have been all summer. The reasons are all going to vary on why or how your child is not looking forward to a new school year, but that doesn’t mean that their feelings aren’t valid. Remember to acknowledge this change that’s happening in their life, and not get too focused on simply preparing supplies and getting them to school every day. Let them know that you understand this is something huge for them to go through, but they are not going through it alone, and that you’re here for them. You can be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, and offer guidance to the situation on hand. If your children know they aren’t forging ahead by themselves, they will feel a lot less of a burden when it comes to the smaller issues that may arise.

Take One Challenge at a Time

If after a few weeks your kid comes home in tears and unloads a laundry list of “things wrong” at school, stay calm. Remember that some of these things may just be stress in your child, and that they are trying to pin something physical to their emotions. But start by tackling one situation or challenge at a time, so you aren’t overloading yourself or your child with a bunch of burdens. If they don’t like a teacher, get to the root of the problem and figure out if their dislike is valid or not, then move on to the next challenge. Don’t try to solve all the problems at once as it can be cumbersome, and may not end up doing the trick.

Take Care of Yourself & Your Child

Remember to also be in tune with your emotions during the start of school. Keep your stressors down by taking care of your own potential anxiety and worries. And be sure to talk with your child about managing their own emotions too. They may end up becoming stressed more easily or get anxious more often if they don’t know how to manage their emotions in the first place. Let them take some mental breaks whenever it seems necessary to help them with their overall mental health.

Katie Kyzivat