Coping with Back to School Anxiety

By Jordan Upton

The start of a new school year can be a stressful time for parents and children. For children who have experienced personal trauma - like those in foster care who have been removed from their home and biological families - starting a new school may cause or worsen existing anxiety.

The goal for parents is to be supportive without increasing their child’s stress. Some tips for dealing with back to school anxiety:

  1. Listen to and Don’t Dismiss Their Worries

    Worries are common but listen to them seriously. Rather than saying “There’s nothing to worry about”, acknowledging your child’s fears will help them feel more secure. Taking them seriously will help your child trust and feel comfortable talking with you over future issues.

  2. Problem Solve

    If your child has very specific worries, like forgetting their lunchbox or homework, work out a plan ahead of time for how you will solve it. Make sure they know who to contact if something goes wrong.

  3. Prepare and Practice
    If possible, take your child to the school before the first day. Let them walk around, find their classroom, get comfortable with this new setting. Practice driving to the drop-off or bus stop. If available, attend open house events where your child can meet their teacher and principal in advance of the first day.

  4. Focus on the Positives

    Ask your child what they’re excited about at school; even if it’s just recess or snack time, it’s a start. Focus on the fun parts of their day to distract them from anxieties. Find things to praise - going a certain amount of days without calling home, being prepared (not forgetting their backpack or lunchbox), good grades - that will encourage them and boost their confidence about attending school.

  5. Pay Attention to Your Attitude and Behavior

    If you are stressed or upset, your child will be able to tell. Be careful what you say and do as children look to you as a model.

When a Parent is Incarcerated

By Melissa Radcliff

of Fostering Perspectives

Children can love their parents, even if they don't like what they do.  Children can love their parents even if they understand they can't live with them.  This can be true for children in foster care where the parent is incarcerated.  Today's article by Melissa Radcliff helps us as foster parents or mentors to understand the child's feeling better and our role in their parent-child relationship. 


It Is Okay To Be Angry

By Michael Olivieri


Foster Focus Magazine

Have you ever been angry and had someone tell you to just stop it? How did that make you feel? Did it work? Many children that come to us through the foster system have good reason to be angry, but that doesn't mean the way they show the anger is acceptable.  How would you have felt if instead of being told to stop how you feel, you had been taught how to direct or use your anger in a healthy way?  Meet Michael Olivieri, and the story that is his to share.  


School and Foster Youth

By Chris Zollner

Foster Focus Magazine


Educators with foster children in their classroom could be faced with extra challenges that without more training leave the teacher, child, and parent frustrated.  As a teacher and foster parent, Chris Zollner speaks with knowledge of the subject and this article from Foster Focus is full of good suggestions and advice.