Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Adjusting to a New School Year

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My second-grader just started school and he hates it -- the work is too hard, the day is too long, etc. We had nine weeks of misery last year when he began first grade; I had hoped things would be better this year. He is a young second-grader and sensitive, but very bright and capable. Last year we talked, cried, and listened for ten weeks then he suddenly adjusted and things were fine. How can I help him overcome his anxiety this year?

A: Some children react each year to a new grade level in the same way as your son. At first the adjustment is difficult, but eventually they feel more comfortable. You may find that the same thing happens next year in third grade and then the next in fourth, but the adjustment period each time should get shorter.

Talk with your son's teacher and school counselor. Explain what is going on with him and ask for their assistance. You may hear that the teacher sees none of your son's anxious behaviors at school, as your son may feel more comfortable expressing his concerns about school with you. Ask the teacher to help your son feel good about being in her classroom, assisting him with making friends on the playground and at lunch. The teacher can also help your son feel confident in his ability to do the school work.

The counselor can also help with your son's adjustment. She can offer support in the mornings by meeting your son at the door and walking him to his classroom if morning separations are difficult. The counselor can also give your son some individual time or include him in a small group to help build his self-confidence.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.