top of page
Sad About School Starting and Summer Ending - How to Acknowledge Feelings Without Indulging in the Dramatics
Tips from Teachers
Insights and Ideas from Smart Love teachers and tutors on how to help your children have a successful school year!
Create a calm and supportive environment: As summer winds down, children may start to have feelings about the start of school. These emotions can be expressed via words or behavior, acted out towards parents, siblings, or friends, or in some other manner. As parents, it's important to create a safe space for your children to express their feelings about school starting and summer ending. If you notice that your child seems to be overreacting or agitated at times, this may be a signal that they are struggling with their feelings about school starting.
Encourage open communication & validate emotions: Acknowledge your child's feelings with observational statements like, "I see/hear something is bothering you." If your child seems available in the moment, try to see if starting school is bothering them by gently asking, "I wonder if you are thinking about school starting?" If your child is open to talking, gently encourage your child to openly express their thoughts and concerns and actively listen to their responses. Simple statements like, "Tell me more..." can encourage dialogue. If they are not ready to talk, it's important to respect their wishes. All of this will help them to feel heard and understood, and increase the likelihood for more conversations later if they aren't ready to share in the moment.
Avoid dismissive statements: If your child opens up, avoid trying to talk them out of their feelings with rebuttals like, "But you love school!" or, "You don't mean that, you will get to see all of your friends." When children hear these kinds of responses, it doesn't help to alleviate their worries, but can rather cause them to feel worse. Instead of feeling understood, they may feel like there is something wrong with them for having worries and can delay children from moving past their concerns.
Avoid indulging in their anxiety: If your child shares what is on their minds, remain calm and project confidence with compassion and understanding. Let your child know that you believe in their ability to handle the challenges of the new school year. Offer reassurance that they have the necessary skills and resources to succeed, and assure them that you'll be there to support them every step of the way. If your child has struggled in previous years and this is the cause of some of their anxiety, let your child know that you are there to talk about any previous challenges and you can work on a plan together that best supports them.
Reminisce about the summer highlights: Take time to reflect on the fun experiences and memorable moments your child had during the summer. Build your relationship by encouraging them to share their favorite memories, and remind them that those memories will always be cherished. Your relationship with your child is the best tool to help children to navigate the ups and downs of the upcoming school year. When a parent offers their unconditional patience, kindness, and understanding, children never feel alone with whatever challenges and triumphs the upcoming year will bring.
Acknowledge your own experiences: Parents too will have their own emotions about summer coming to an end and school beginning. Some parents might welcome the return to structure, while other parents may experience the transition as a loss. Whatever your feelings are, know that they are normal and okay. When parents are able to address their own reactions with understanding and compassion, they are better able to help their children with their emotions.
Remember, each child is unique: It's essential to tailor your approach to your child's individual needs and temperament. By acknowledging their feelings, providing support, and fostering a positive outlook, you can help your child transition smoothly from summer to school.
Seeking help: If your child's behaviors do not subside after several months, reach out to your child's pediatrician or to a professional to determine if more support is needed.
bottom of page