A doctor’s advice for back to school anxiety


(NBC News) Back to school anxiety is very common, according to a new study.

For parents, it’s the big transitions that cause the most anxiety, like heading off to kindergarten for the first time.

Donna Rockwell, a clinical psychologist, says, “when your kid first goes off to kindergarten, I think the parents cry way more than the children ever are, at least that’s been my experience.”  Dr. Rockwell says parents should be reassuring to their child, but it’s ok to be emotional too.

“Get back in the car and cry, not to be afraid to feel those feelings, and to understand that they’re actually feelings that are a celebration of life itself,” suggests Dr. Rockwell.

Starting middle school, high school, or a new school can be particularly stressful for children.  Experts say it’s important to talk to your child about their worries and realize your approach needs to grow as they do.

“It would be nice if parents could see that their child is a developing person with different needs when they’re 4, than when they’re 6, when they’re 16, and to allow for that and maybe read up on what the various developmental are, what their meanings are, how to best meet those various developmental stages,” Dr. Rockwell advises.

And whether you have children or not, take some time to embrace the end of summer.

Dr. Rockwell says, “once the fall arrives there is a sort of a summer solstice depression, if you will, where it feels like the summer went by so fast and now we have this long winter to look forward to and it is really hard. So, I think it’s important, maybe on Labor Day, to have a really great time, to soak up the last bit of summer, to appreciate it.”

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