4 Tactics for Facing Mom’s Back-to-School Anxiety

Alexandra Kuykendall}>
Alexandra Kuykendall

As a girl I loved back to school. The pencil boxes and new school clothes always held the possibility of something unanticipated. Of potential.

However as a mom, I’m not a big fan of this time of year. It reminds me that another summer has come and gone. That the sands of time are running past me even faster than my children are. Although I can’t completely shake the back-to-school excitement of my childhood, it’s overcome by the nostalgia of motherhood.

In other words, as a mom I want to stop time.

So for those of us who are nervous about sending our littles into the big-kid world of preschool or are in utter shock that our “baby” is now in second grade, here are a few tips to help us adjust to the new school routine.

Verbalize Expectations

I’m constantly surprised by meltdowns (both my kids’ and my own) that could have easily been avoided by simply putting words, ahead of time, around what to expect. When everyone shares a common vision for how the routine, the drop off, the lunch packing is going to go, the better off we’ll be. Because we know it won’t go exactly according to plan, but communicating about the plan helps.

Set Aside Together Time

Moving from summer to a school schedule, even a part-time preschool schedule, can cut back on mom-and-child together time. This separation may make your child (OK, or you) a bit anxious. Make sure the first few weeks are full of intentional side-by-side activity when everyone is at home. Reading on the couch or making dinner together can reassure all members of the family that just because school has started, the world hasn’t turned upside down.

Have a Place to Express Your Anxiety

If you are sending someone off to kindergarten or preschool and are worried about the transition, say it out loud, just not in front of your little person. Your child doesn’t really benefit from hearing your concerns. Have people you can process with outside of your son or daughter’s earshot. You need a safe place to say how you are feeling and your child shouldn’t be your support system.

See This As Opportunity

It is an opportunity for you and for your child. You may have some freed up time to attend to other parts of your life, like work or one-on-one time with a younger child or (gasp!) something fun you can do without the kids in tow. Your child gets new experiences, new friendships and the chance to learn from another trusted adult. This separating can be hard for a mom’s heart, but remember, we want our grown children to eventually leave the home. Preschool is a good first step.

Alexandra Kuykendall
As a mom to four girls, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She is the author of Loving My Actual Life, An Experiment In Relishing What’s Right In Front of Me and The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir. A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.