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Beating The Back-to-School Blues



August 20, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Children around Missouri are back in school or will be there soon. For some, it's a tough transition as they switch gears from summer to school routines — but it doesn't have to be, according to Dr. Rochelle Harris, a child psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. She says kids' attitudes start with their parents: If parents are calm, it will help children stay calm.

"Recognizing that how you convey to them your expectation of how they will do, can have a very positive benefit to them."

Harris also recommends parents take extra time to listen to their child, establish a regular bedtime routine that includes a daily plan, such as laying out clothes each night, and make sure they're equipped with what they need each day. Children feel more confident when they're prepared, says Harris.

However, she warns adults to be careful of subtle messages to children, such as telling them the 'dos and don'ts' of the next grade level.

"If a child has heard that sort of message, especially if they're a sensitive child who tends to worry or be anxious, they might think, 'Oh my word, third grade is going to be this huge change for me.'"

Harris says it's okay to share with your child your own experiences, especially the challenging ones, to let them know they're not the only ones who sometimes struggle.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO