Dr. Amy Stark

Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker

Specializing in:
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys

Food For Thought

Food For Thought

Back-to-School Tips

So many of the kids in my practice stress every year when it's time to start school.  When that fear is also coupled with a new divorce or separation situation for their parents, it's a lot for children to cope with.  There are a few things parents can do to help:

  1. Don't make too many changes in the custodial schedule at the same time that school starts.  Make sure your kid is on the school parenting schedule at least one week before school starts.
  2. Help your kid be organized.  They not only have the challenge of normal school organization, but they also have to keep track of things for school in two different homes.
  3. As they get ready to start the year, remind them that it is just the day after last year.  Often kids think, for example, that third grade is going to be so hard, or seventh grade is going to be hard and then when they get there they realize that is just the day after last year.  It's the next day, that's all.  The work they did the last day of school is where they will start.  Seventh grade is the day after sixth grade...nothing more than that.
  4. Remind them it's not hard...it's just new. In a few weeks they will be pros and they will wonder why they stressed.
  5. Try to shield them from any divorce issues.  Let them focus on school.

Lowering your kid's anxiety level will make all the difference for them. Being successful at school, feeling confident that they can do itand that it’s really not that different from last year, will make the first few months go much smoother. After all, it IS just the day after last year...and nothing more!

* Disclaimer:
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.

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