Many Parents Have the Back-to-School Blues

By: Kristen Guilfoos
By: Kristen Guilfoos

Oh the first day of school, for some parents it's like Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year.

But others are having a hard time finding that same kind of joy. They're battling the back to school blues.

Meet Breanna Hintze. She's a stay-at-home mom whose typical day inclused spending quality time with three-year-old Jazzmine.

"We play outside together. We talk and we sign together. We do activities."

But next week, that's all changing.

"She's starting in September and she's gonna be in pre-k."

The "she's no longer my baby" thought is leaving Breanna a little broken hearted.

She told us she's "scared, anxious, nervous".

She never expected to be "that mom". You know, the one who is all weepy and emotional, with a full-fledged case of separation anxiety.

"I thought it would be a little easier. I mean when i was going to school it was no big deal, I mean, I'd go everyday and mom would just be there when we got home. But it's a lot different when you experience the feelings for yourself."

As the school year gets into full swing, a lot of parents feeling the same way. They're being hit hard with those back to school blues. They're having a tough time coping with the fact their kids won't be around during the day anymore.

Family therapist Dr. Barbara Lonsdorf sees it all the time.

She says, "It's a tough one, epecially that first child."

Her best advice for moms struggling with their little one leaving the nest is this: Even if you're crying on the inside, try your best to put on a brave smile.

"Children take the cue from their parent and if she's gonna be sad, guess what's gonna happen to that child? It's so much better to say this is sad, i'll miss you, but I'm so excited for you. Because this is the next step in this child's development."

As for Breanna, she's hoping to shake her fears about this milestone moment by looking on the bright side.

She says, "I can't wait for her to come home and tell us the stories of everything she learned and all her new friends. That will be good for her."

Promising herself she'll make every effort to hold back the tears, at least until Jazzmine gets on the school bus.

It's also okay if you feel more like cheering than crying at the sight of your little one climbing onto the school bus.

Dr. Lonsdorf said this time of year brings about a wide range of emotions... All of which are completely normal.


Dr. Lonsdorf is licensed marriage and family therapist. She's practices in Wausau. She just released a new book about marraige and relaltionships called "Be Attitudes."

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