5 Tips to Reduce Back-to-School Anxiety

With summer beginning to wind down, it’s almost time for the new school year to begin. Students and teachers alike will trade beach days and sleeping in for lesson plans and bright and early learning. Especially for older children and college students, this transition can be exceptionally difficult. It can feel like the carefree days of summer flew by and are now giving way to structured schedules and new challenges. The five tips below can help make the process of going back to school smooth and stress-free for students, parents, and teachers.

  1. Establish a New Sleep Schedule – Whether your summer was full of lazy days, going to camp, working an internship, or holding a summer job, your sleep cycle could most likely use some readjusting. Since the best way to correct your sleep pattern is gradually, start by setting your alarm clock to wake up a half hour earlier than usual and adjust it every couple of days. Do this until you reach the time you or your child needs to wake up for school. In the same way, practice going to bed earlier according to your wake-up time to make sure you still get a full night’s rest.
  2. Prepare any Necessary Supplies – At the start of any school year, filling a supply list can feel like a daunting task. However, starting early can help relieve a lot of the pressure. Of course, everyone preparing for back-to-school has slightly different needs, but making sure everything is ready to go before the school year starts can make a big difference. For parents, this might include buying school supplies, stocking up on snacks, or shopping for any new shoes or clothes their child(ren) may need. For college students, however, back to school prep is often about buying dorm furniture, food to grab on the run, and textbooks. Even teachers need to prepare with classroom supplies and lesson plans. Preparing your back-to-school necessities early can certainly alleviate some of the last-minute scramble.
  3. Finalize & Learn Your New Schedule – Solidifying, or even starting to settle, the details of a new schedule helps parents, students, and teachers know what to expect when they go into the new school year. For parents, it may be beneficial to help your student(s) print out their new schedule and begin to visually familiarize themselves with it. Similarly, parents and older students may want to learn bus schedules and hash out pick up/drop off details. College students may want to double check that their class registration is completed and get a general idea of what days and times their classes will be. Specifically for teachers, it may be beneficial to gather information about when they will be teaching, how many students will be in their class(es), and if they will be responsible for any bus or other additional duties.
  4. Plan Your Route – Potentially one of the most nerve-wracking parts of starting a new school year is the change in familiar surroundings. If your child is starting a new school or changing teachers, it is a good idea to take a drive to the school and show them their new classroom(s) whenever possible. This also works for any teachers moving to a new school or classroom for the upcoming year. Similarly, college students often find it helpful to do a dry run of their commute to campus and walk or drive around to find where their classes will be held. Planning out and familiarizing yourself with your new route gives you one less thing to worry about when that first day comes around.
  5. Get Excited! – Remind yourself and your student(s) that a new school year is the perfect chance to make new friends and start fresh. Encouraging positive associations with going back-to-school helps emphasize that even big changes can be great! In the same way, shifting the focus away from summer ending can motivate students and teachers alike to embrace the possibilities the new school year brings.

If you believe that your (or your child’s) anxiety is out of control, consider calling a mental health professional to give you the tools to manage the anxiety so that it does not get in the way. At the Center for Anxiety and Behavior Management, we primarily use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat anxiety by giving practical tools and strategies to help you regain control. Call us today (908) 914-2624 or email us at info@anxietycounselingnj.com.


By:Michaela Patoilo

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