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5 tips for combatting back-to-school nerves

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As the end of the holidays draw near, kids all over Hong Kong will be turning their attention to heading back to school. Thoughts about new classes, teachers, friends and schools can lead to nerves. There are a lot of unknowns for children, and making the transition can be daunting. So what can we do to ease their nerves and reassure them that this school year will be amazing?


Make sure your children know that they can come to you with any problem and that you’ll listen to them and talk through their fears. Give them all the encouragement they need and a little more attention than usual in the run up to the start of term. Remind them that they will make wonderful new friends and that you’re looking forward to hearing about how they day goes when they come home.


Talk about your own experiences at school, the things you loved, friends you made and your favourite activities. Your children will love to hear about your schooldays and it will help them to normalize their own feelings. Encourage them to share their own worries, following up with validating statements like “I remember feeling that way too.” Avoid questions which lead them to think about their nerves like “are you nervous?”.

Be patient

Your child might settle into school straight away or it might take them a little longer. Be patient with them and let them take as much time as they need. They will need support in different ways at different times. Listen to them and concentrate on how to get to the end goal of enjoying school rather than when they’ll get there.

Be prepared

Prepare your children for the year ahead and try and turn their nerves into excitement. Take them shopping for new stationery, files for their work, snacks and maybe even a new backpack. Get everything packed up and ready to go for the first day and put it by the front door.

Talk to your children about what they’ll be doing in their upcoming year at school and prepare them in terms of location, syllabus and teacher. If they are starting at a new school, go to the site and, if possible, see if they can talk to a student who is already there. This can really help take the mystery and fear out of the experience.

Prepare your children for the year ahead and try and turn their nerves into excitement. 

Transition your schedule

In the run up to the end of the holidays, begin to move your children’s schedule into a more structured, term-time pattern. Make sure they get plenty of sleep but don’t let them sleep in too long or they will feel tired and cranky with the shock of the early morning classes!

Olivia Hungerford is the co-founder of British Tutors.

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