Supporting your Child’s Return Back to School

By Hope Thompson, Project Coordinator, Upstream Prevention, Inc. | | 7.31.23

As school is resuming in Johnson County, there is often anxiety around adjusting back into the school routine. It’s a new school year! And with the new and unknown, can come worries or fears.

There are some core things you can do, as you start to prepare yourself and your youth to start the new school year. First, communication with your child about how they are feeling is key. Have an open conversation about any worries your child has, making sure to actively listen and validate those feelings shared with you.

Second, youth take their social cues from the important adults in their lives. They are always watching. Make sure you’re remaining calm, and role modeling handling stressful situations for them. When parents stay calm and flexible when dealing with challenges in life, parents are then teaching their children positive ways to handle stress.

One important aspect that is often overlooked is good sleep hygiene. Lack of proper sleep can affect brain functioning in a large number of ways. Poor sleep quality can increase irritability, forgetfulness, difficulties learning and low motivation. All of these issues could greatly impact a child academically in addition to other areas of life.

Building routines help kids feel safe. Predictability reduces stress. Any routine that can be maintained will be beneficial for decreasing anxiety. Look for opportunities to implement a predictable routine. It may only be for 30 minutes of the day that can be consistent and predictable for your child at home, but something is better than nothing, and can go a long way towards helping your child feel safe.

Remind your child how much there is to look forward to in the new school year ahead, such as seeing friends again, or making new ones! Learning and exploring new subjects will lead to many more amazing experiences!

If your child is struggling beyond that initial adjustment “back to school” period, please reach out to your child’s primary care doctor. Upstream Prevention also has a list of some local and national resources for mental health at

If your child’s worries, fear, or anxiety impact their ability to function at home, in school, or in the community, then seeking guidance would be warranted to further help your child.

About the Author: Hope Thompson is a Project Coordinator for the SAMHSA Mental Health Awareness and Training grant with Upstream Prevention, Inc. Hope has 24 years of experience in the mental health field, primarily with youth and families.