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Making Back-To-School Transitions Easier

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The calendar may still say it is summer but it didn’t feel that way to thousands of Minnesota kids as they headed off to school.

Labor Day is over and that means back to class, homework, and the end to staying up late.

“I’m pretty excited for them to just get back with a routine,” said Nina Guswyler, who has two boys, Ryan and Benjamin.

For Benjamin, it is a brand new way of life as he starts kindergarten.

“It will be interesting to see how he does adjusting to a whole new routine and getting up, getting on a bus,” said Guswyler.

While some kids are excited about seeing their friends and being back in class, others may be anxious about returning to school.

“Not really having any friends, not knowing anyone, who they will sit with at lunch, who they can talk to — it’s very scary,” said Yvonne Gentzler, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Minnesota. “School and the education process is a long journey and it’s not just these few days and get us ready.”

Gentzler said just like parents take time to help kids with homework, they should set aside time to talk about how their kids are feeling.

“Communicate with them asking them, ‘what are your fears?’ What are you expectations?’ Talking about your own expectations as parents for your child,” said Gentzler.

She said a daily conversation helps parents reinforce they’re there for support.

Guswyler has been giving her boys a pep talk as they gear up for a new school year.

“Just make sure it’s exciting, making sure they’re comfortable and a healthy breakfast to start the day,” she said.

School psychologists say for younger kids signs of anxiety may range from children complaining of a headache or stomachache, and if they’re a little older they may be crabby.

Their advice is to talk with your kids and reassure them they can get through their feelings and talk about what will make them more comfortable at school.

School psychologists said they may suffer from anxiety because they’re afraid they won’t get their homework done in time or they won’t get the grade they want. Sometimes it’s about bullying or popularity.

The best advice is just to talk to your child and listen. If you feel it’s more serious suggest they talk to the guidance counselor or get professional help.

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