How to help reduce your child's back-to-school jitters

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Barbee Szuwalski will welcome a classroom full of kindergartners this week.

"Most of them really do great,” Szuwalski said. “But we do have those kiddos that are afraid to leave mom, leave dad for the day."

Leslie Carr, coordinator of social work for Topeka Public Schools, says those back-to-school jitters are common for students of all ages.

"I think we should assume for all kids they're feeling those jitters, whether or not they verbalize them,” Carr said. “Changes in kids, changes in friend groups, classes, structure of class, all bring on increased nervousness."

She says parents can help alleviate the stress starting with good habits from day one.

"Making sure kids get a good night's rest, get dinner, eat breakfast, waking up early so that you've got plenty of time, laying out clothes that kids know how to put on,” Carr said.

It's not just students. Parents should be aware of how their anxiety at the dreaded first-day drop off can affect their kids.

"If mom and dad will just kind of go on, drop them and go, say your goodbyes and go, even if they're crying, we got it from here,” Szuwalski said.

Carr says you can encourage your child by reminding them they're not alone.

"A lot of parents are very anxious, myself included as a mom,” Carr said. “So modeling, saying, 'I am feeling a little bit nervous, how about you?' and reassuring, showing that it's okay to take deep breaths, it's okay to be nervous, that we can still push through it, that we can still be brave."

Carr says if your child still shows signs of anxiety after a few weeks, it might be a good idea to reach out to a school counselor about ways to help them.