Back To School (part 1)

Children Going Back To School When Parents Are DivorcedFear and trembling? or Slightly nervous excitement?

I clearly remember the Back to School stress that I had almost every year from Kindergarten through college, and even in law school. Although it has been many years, I remember my big sister who was 12 years older than I was, taking me to my first day at kindergarten. Everyone assembled in the auditorium, and I felt miserable when the adults had to leave. For several years thereafter, my first day of school was preceded by a day of anxiety and fear.

It is normal for children to feel anxious as they prepare for a new school year. Hey, most adults feel nervous when they are starting a new job, or going for an interview. For children each New Year is a new beginning – New it is scary. Being afraid of the unknown is human nature. However, children who see conflict between their divorcing or separating parents may feel these fears more intensely. Their fear of what will happen at home, can increase their fear of the “unknown” school year ahead of them.

There are some things that you can do to help.


Start setting up an evening routine a week or two before school starts. Kids of all ages need enough sleep and regular meals to function well.

Talk to your kids about going back to school. If your child expresses negative feelings, don’t dismiss them, nod and ask them if they feel nervous starting a new year so they feel as if you understand. Ask how you can help your child feel better.

Be a good listener.

If your child is starting a new school, try to arrange a visit to the building before the first day of class. Perhaps there are programs at the school where they may be able to meet the teacher. Find out which of your child’s friends will be in his or her class – arrange a play date, if you can.

Kids often take their cues from you, so maintain a positive attitude for them.

Look for part 2 very soon.

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