Calming Nerves as Students Start the School Year
The new school year can be a very exciting time for children and parents. However, for many children, it also can cause some anxiety, especially if they are going to a new school or haven’t been in person for a while.
The San Diego County of Office of Education (SDCOE) is committed to supporting school districts, schools, students, and families to improve their mental and emotional health and well-being. Our student wellness team works closely with school staff across San Diego County to ensure tools and resources are available to youth. We've compiled resources and information to help education professionals and families.
Following are some tips to ease anxiety from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center:
- A week or two before school, start preparing children for the upcoming transition by getting back to school-year routines, such as a realistic bedtime and selecting tomorrow's clothes.
- Arrange play dates with one or more familiar peers before school starts. Research shows that the presence of a familiar peer during school transitions can improve children's academic and emotional adjustment.
- Visit the school before the school year begins, rehearse the drop-off, and spend time on the playground or inside the classroom if the building is open. Have your child practice walking into class while you wait outside or down the hall.
- Come up with a prize or a rewarding activity that your child could earn for separating from you to attend school.
- Validate their worry by acknowledging that, like any new activity, starting school can be hard but soon becomes easy and fun.
Returning to school can also be stressful for older students. Check out SDCOE’s Teen Guide to Mental Health and Wellness for five wellness tips for teens.
For additional ideas and information, explore the following resources from SDCOE and other organizations. Hopefully, they can help make the transition to the new school year smooth. Don’t forget to talk to your child’s teacher or principal if you still have concerns.
Resources to Help Your Child
- Back-to-School Anxiety - How to help kids manage worries and have a successful start to the school year
- When Your Child Feels Too Anxious to Go to School
- How to Empower Your Child to Deal with School Anxiety
- What to Do About Teen Anxiety and School Refusal
General Wellness Resources
- A Young Person's Guide to Wellness (SDCOE)
- Virtual Wellness Center (SDCOE)
- Helping Handout for School and Home (National Association of School Psychologists)
- Teen-Created Mental Health Anxiety Card
When Back to School Anxiety Lingers
Description: UCLA Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support (CARES) Director Dr. John Piacentini and CARES Clinical Psychology Fellow Dr. Diana Santacrose talk about the feelings of fear and anxiety that often come up around back to school and how parents can recognize them.
More to explore
The San Diego County Board of Education is accepting online applications for student board members now through Feb. 1 on the SDCOE student board member webpage.
Alicia McBride, an SDCOE teacher in the Juvenile Court and Community Schools East Region, was recently honored by the San Diego County Credit Union as part of its Classroom Heroes program.
The Juvenile Court and Community Schools student representative on the San Diego County Board of Education for November was M’Niya, a senior at San Pasqual Academy.
The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission selected Mara Madrigal-Weiss, executive director of student wellness and school culture for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), as its chair for the third consecutive year.
The San Diego County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution endorsing November 2023 as National Native American Heritage Month.
There are many local scholarship and contest opportunities available for students in San Diego County. Check this page often for updates.