Back to School: Excitement or Anxiety?

by Rebecca Gieselmann

For some students, going back to school in August brings excitement over seeing friends again, buying new uniforms and meeting their teacher.

CMDS Counselor Rebecca Gieselmann

But for other students, the start of a new school year brings many anxious thoughts: What will my teacher be like? Where is my classroom? Will the rules be different? Will my friends still like me? Will the work be too hard? The list of worries could go on and on!

There are several things you can do to help ease your child’s fears and encourage their excitement for a new school year:

  • If possible, let your student meet their teacher before going back to school. At CMDS, we’re hosting a Back-to-School Open House Friday, August 11 at 8:30 a.m. Students will have the opportunity to meet their teacher, see their new classroom and talk to their classmates. An event like this may ease your child’s worries before officially starting school.
  • Take your student to buy one school supply: a water bottle, backpack, lunchbox or just some “cool” markers. This may help your child transition from the lazy days of summer to the structure of school.
  • Make sure that your child has ALL of their summer work completed so that they can begin their school year feeling prepared. Throughout the school year, I see many students in my office who feel anxious because they have not completed their assignments!
A Word of Comfort for Parents of an Anxious Child

I would like to say a word of comfort to parents who do have a child who is anxious. If your student does have trouble coming to school for the first few weeks, please know that it is OK. For some students, it is just a lot of NEW. (You parents of an anxious child will know what I mean!)

In my experience, within a few weeks most students adjust and are happy to hop out of the car. But if your child is having a hard time, let the school administration know. Here at CMDS, Dr. Bryan Williams, Ms. Teena Maginn and I are happy to help. Please know you are not alone, and my door is open to you!

As a parent of a child who gets anxious often, I try to take a moment at the end of an “anxious” day to help my child see how the kindness of the Lord was evident through the love of another person, a set of circumstances or merely having strength to get through the day.

RELATED: Mrs. Gieselmann’s list of the Top 10 Back-to-School Steps for Parents

Gieselmann joined CMDS as Guidance Counselor in 2006. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Crichton College and a Master’s in School Counseling from the University of Memphis. She is a mother of three, one CMDS alum and two current students.

Christ Methodist Day School first opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. We encourage you to come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.


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