Back to School Anxiety: Tips for Kindergartners to Teens

The back to school transition can cause stress for your kids as they anticipate big changes from the summer schedule to a school routine.

“Transitions can be difficult for people, no matter what your age,” said Jonathan Ponser, LCPC, NCC, and manager of Memorial Behavioral Health’s Springfield Children’s Center. “Consider putting a plan in place to set your child up for success before anxiety kicks in.”

Here are some tips to get started.


  • Read books together about going to kindergarten.
  • See if you can visit the classroom ahead of time.
  • Whenever you drive by school, talk about it in positive terms.
  • Let your child help choose school supplies.
  • Set a bedtime routine a week or two out that mirrors the school one.

Elementary age

  • Remind student of positive memories from previous year.
  • Discuss areas of interest they will enjoy learning about.
  • Let your child help choose school supplies.
  • Return to a healthy school year sleep schedule.


  • Run through schedule ahead at school if changing classes.
  • Practice combination locks and help them decorate and organize inside of locker.
  • Share your own struggles and how you coped when you were a tween.
  • Encourage your student to get involved in activities of interest.


  • This is a more self-conscious age. Your teen will appreciate more freedom in choosing school supplies and clothing that is on trend.
  • Keep communication open and candid.
  • Set clear expectations for the school year in terms of responsibilities and structure including family time, curfew, academics, dating, social media use and screen time.

Memorial Behavioral Health is providing telehealth and phone appointments with their patients. In addition, MBH has established an emotional support hotline, available at 217-588-5509, to provide support to individuals who are experiencing anxiety or stress, even if they are not MBH patients.

Additional Resources

Teens and Depression
Vaping: Dangerous Trend for Tweens and Teens
Immunization Schedule
Is Your Kids Meal Really Healthy?
Fuel Your Child’s Brain