5 Strategies to Prepare Your Anxious Child For the First Day of School

August, as a kid, I used to refer to as " the dog days of summer". August is so hot, it feels like you could cook your food on the pavement. You have been out of school long enough to be in that space of adventure every day. August also meant I got to do one of my most favourite activities, back to school shopping. Writing my name on every pencil, organizing my binders with paper and tabs, being immensely organized waiting for that first day of school. A new year, new possibilities, a new me! I was excited to find out who my teacher would be, where I would sit, who would be my new best friend….

As a child, August was exciting!

So when my daughter was old enough, I was so excited to share my love for back to school with her. I would make a big deal of the new changes, I would take her shopping and we would buy all new clothes and school supplies.

I would say things like, "ooohhh I wonder who your teacher will be…. I wonder who you will sit next to….. Think of all the possibilities!!!!"

As August was winding down and that fateful first day of school drew near, Jordan, my daughter, was not sleeping, she was not eating, she was becoming quite anxious. Not realizing what was happening, I kept talking about how exciting the unknown could be. But the more I talked, the worse Jordan became.

She was so exhausted, she couldn't function. She was so nauseous, I ended up giving her Gravol, and then she finally slept.

The first day of school was a complete disaster. I believe it was when she experienced her first panic attack, only I didn't know it at the time.