Transition Back2School Without Anxiety

Earlier this week I was interviewed by the best pediatric chiropractor in town, Dr. Tye Moe, who also happens to be my husband 🙂

Since we both specialize in kids’ and families’ health and connection I have firsthand experience seeing how a chiropractic adjustment calms a child’s brain from the inside-out.

The changes parents see in mood, sleep and immune system thrill me each and every time!

But we always get parents asking, “What can I do to help them feel calm and more in-control?”  Especially during the time of Back2School transition. 

To stop the fighting, yelling and frustration you have to realize the Back2School transition is a time of anxiety, meltdown and battles because nothing is predictable.

When kids feel out of control internally they show it outwardly by trying to rule the roost and MAKE things go their way.

To avoid the school-morning battle and get them into the classroom (and you off to work!) free of stress and frustration create predictability with these Three Strategies For Back2School Ease:

1. Ask “I wonder” questions in advance. Brainstorming aloud with your child about what the bus/car ride will be like, the classroom, the teacher, and being around other kids allows her to process anxieties in advance.
Ask, “I wonder what your new classroom will look like.”
Avoid telling her everything you know – this is HER time to process.

2. Give her opportunities for control. When kids disrespect authority it often means their psychological need for control isn’t being met.  Find appropriate ways to honor control needs.
Allow her to choose her clothes, breakfast, and music to listen to during the ride to school (in advance!).
Avoid making all the choices for her because you’re worried you won’t get out the door on time.  If she’s resistant to you calling the shots you’ll have a morning battle and get behind schedule anyway.

3. Set a positive expectation. Let’s face it, you’re both nervous about how smooth the transition will go.  Intentionally talk about what the good parts of Back2School will be.
Ask, “What fun activity should we do after school, no matter what?”
Avoid threatening to remove the fun if things are rough.  You both need the reprieve.


Remember, what YOU do matters so carve out extra time and be thoughtful about how you connect.   You’ll be glad you did!


  • Excellent suggestions on helping kids that have few school problems in getting back into the school groove. I always worry about those for which school is problematic. The children being bullied, those with learning disabilities and of course my favorite little guys, those with ADHD. These children may actually experience a trauma reaction to returning to a place that doesn’t hold special memories for them. The requirements for preparation for these children may include those things you’ve enumerated plus a couple more. I always recommend a preschool staffing with all interested parties to come up with a game plan for the next school. year. If old enough the child should be included in at least part of the meeting so they can voice their own concerns about the upcoming school year. I know that this is somewhat utopian view of starting a school year but our special kids deserve every opportunity to succeed. Thanks for the article and good luck withe the seminar.

    • Samantha says:

      Appreciate your comment Troy! I love your suggestion of having the child involved if old enough. Giving input provides a deeper sense of stability and control for a child.

  • Estelle says:

    I am both autistic and have anxiety and one thing that helps me with transitioning from school to not-school and back is to have routines for both so that I can say to myself “Okay, school routine now” or “not-school routine now”

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