For most children the start of the new school year can be both fun and stressful. With this transition, some anxiety is common for most kids and as the summer comes to an end the start of the school year is quickly becoming a reality!

The following tips by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry provide a useful guide in helping parents prepare children for this transition:

• Talk to your children about what to expect, such as the activities (nap, snacks, and story-time), the schedule and the other children.

• Taking your child to school to see the layout (where his classroom is, where the bathrooms are, which cubbyhole or coat hook is his, etc.) and to introduce him to the teacher can also be helpful in reducing anxiety.

• Let your child know it’s normal to feel nervous or worried about being away from parents and suggest that he take a familiar object or a family picture to school.

• Identifying a friend/buddy at school can also help decrease apprehension about being alone in the new setting.

• Make the getting-ready-for-school ritual as stress-free as possible. For example, lay out all the child’s notebooks and clothes the night before. Having the child help with school preparations (example, make his lunch) the night before can also reduce stress for everyone.

Contributed by A. Richards MD