Tips for reducing back-to-school anxiety

The first day of a school year can be very emotional for children and their parents. "It's bittersweet," said Heather Hackman, who will see her daughter Natalie start her first day of Kindergarten.

On Thursday, classrooms at Cedar Hill Elementary School and elsewhere across Jefferson City will be full of students, many of whom haven't been in a classrom before. Wheile school starting can be exciting, Cedar Hill principal Lorie Rost knows the little ones might have a lot of questions.

"What are mom and dad doing - or little siblings while they are still at home - what are they doing? Is someone going to pick me up on time? What if they forget me?" Rost explained. "All of those are pretty common concerns on the first day of school.

There are some pretty easy ways to help prepare your children for a good first day of school. Pediatric psychologist Dr. Robert Kline describes five words which can help:

Practice. During the summer, you and your child can "practice" going to school - before the years starts, try going through a dry run of what it will be like, as many times as it takes.

Fun. Give your child something to look forward to after school, like a trip to the pool or to the ice cream shop - it will help them get through the day.

Things. If your child knows where their things will be in class. it will help put them at ease.

Bedtime. Having a strict bedtime for your child will help them become acclimated to a schedule, and bette rprepared for school.

Anchor. If you can, be there for your child after school. If they know you'll be there, they won't be as anxious.

Kline says following those simple tips can help lead to a good first day of school.

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