Tackling back-to-school jitters head-on; Piedmont Healthcare doctor has advice

Dr. Jayne Morgan recommends listening to your child.
Ask A Doctor: Managing first day of school jitters
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 7:24 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - It’s the first day of school for thousands of children across Georgia and while this day is exciting for many, some kids also experience anxiety or nervousness.

Health experts say parents and teachers can help ease any fears.

Dr. Jayne Morgan from Piedmont Healthcare says to talk to your kids about their new routine and what it’ll look like. For example, chat about their new school schedule - like what classes they’re taking. Morgan says this will help with the unknowns.

It’s also important to simply listen to your student.

“You want to ask open-ended questions to give them a chance to respond so you really understand how they’re feeling,” said Dr. Jayne Morgan. “Give them a chance to respond so you understand how they’re conceptualizing it.”

Dr. Morgan also recommends focusing on the exciting things about going back to school.

“New friends, new school supplies, new clothes. Those kinds of things are exciting,” said Dr. Morgan. “[Ask about] what types of activities and clubs they may be able to join that lend to their strengths or help them to develop new skills.”

It’s important to remember you and your child are not alone. If anxiety persists, don’t be afraid to talk with a therapist, your pediatrician, or school guidance counselor. Dr. Morgan says it’s especially important to loop in your child’s teacher. They’re your eyes and ears in the classroom.

“The school always has resources. Talk with your child’s teacher and try to get an idea of what that teacher is seeing and recognizing in your child,” said Dr. Morgan.