Are your kids ready to go back to school? With last year’s school year being so unusual, it is not surprising if some children are feeling anxiety about the upcoming year. WHRO Public Media has resources to help bolster your children’s confidence and get them ready for a new school year.

Know the Signs of Back-to-School Anxiety

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert and writer. She has identified the following to be symptoms of anxiety:
• changes in eating habits
• sleep disturbance
• clingy behavior
• meltdowns or tantrums
• nail biting, hair twirling, skin picking
• headaches or stomach pains
• avoiding normal daily activities
• increased irritability
• increased crying
• social isolation

What Can Parents Do To Help?

Hurley suggests a few practices to help your child adjust. The first is to attend school each day, even if the day begins with a meltdown at home. You may be tempted to skip that day and “try again another day,” but this would be a mistake according to Hurley. “Missing school because of anxiety robs your child of the chance to gain mastery, make friends, enjoy a successful school day and develop a relationship with the teacher,” she explains.

Additionally, she suggests allowing extra time to get ready in the mornings; establishing good nighttime routines to make mornings easier; ensuring each day includes balanced meals and downtime to decrease stress; and role-playing stressful situations that could arise at school to practice solutions. Read Hurley’s full list of tips.

Free Resources for Parents from eMediaVA contains resources for both teachers and parents to use in the classroom or at home. Here are a few to help as you prepare for your kids to head back to school.

Back-to-school Checklist - Help students prepare for the year ahead with this back-to-school checklist.

Getting to Know Me Booklet - Use this activity to reflect on your child’s fun summer and think ahead to the new school year.

Video Clip: Starting School with Daniel Tiger & Mister Rogers - Join Mister Rogers and Daniel Tiger as they prepare themselves for the first day of school.

Video Episode: A School Bus Ride | Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Mister Rogers discusses school, name tags, and riding the school bus, while it's the first day of school in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Find additional grade-appropriate resources by using the search feature on

PBS Kids Resources

Make a Lucky Mini Unicorn for the First Day of School - This lucky mini unicorn craft is a great, hands-on way to open a conversation with your child about their feelings, expectations and goals for their first day.

Super Morning and Bedtime Routines - These simple morning and bedtime routines will help you navigate transitions in their day, and set some systems in place that help your children accomplish their morning or evening tasks with ease.

9 Songs from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” to Help Manage Feelings - The next time a meltdown arises, try one of these short and simple songs to help your preschooler get through those big feelings of frustration or anger.

First Week of School Planner - Use this printable planner to create a schedule so that everyone knows what to expect.

TV Specials

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood | August 16-20 (View show times on WHRO Kids)
Join Daniel and his friends for a week of “firsts” in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe! Follow along as Margaret celebrates her first Thank You Day, Daniel takes his first trip to the hospital, and Prince Wednesday’s brother goes away to college for the first time. New episodes premiere each day August 16-20.

Arthur’s First Day | September 6 (View show times on WHRO Kids)
This one-hour long movie finds Arthur and friends beginning a new school year. See how he and his friends navigate new teachers, new friends, and new adventures.

Hero Elementary: "First Day of School” | September 6 (Premieres at 6:30 p.m.)
It’s our heroes’ first day at Hero Elementary. They meet each other and Mr. Sparks for the first time, and learn about superpowers that everyone shares: the Superpowers of Science.

Find more resources for parents from PBS.

Find additional educational resources from WHRO Public Media. 

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