September means beautiful Fall weather, pumpkin carving, apple cider…and for most kids, the start of another school year. School may be a great time for many children to see their friends, but for others, it can bring about a lot of anxiety since there are so many unknowns a new school year brings.
Below are just a few reasons kids may be anxious to go back to school:
- If a child is an introvert, being in a social setting may cause social anxieties or worry about fitting in.
- If a child has any type of anxiety disorder, like OCD, it may be hard to manage their symptoms and feelings at school in a new environment.
- If a child is a victim of bullying, they will not want to come face-to-face with their bullies and may try to avoid going to school where they will surely run into their bully.
- If a child has separation anxiety from parents, they may feel anxious being away from them, or may even have fears over something happening to their parents while they are at school.
- If a child has a learning disorder, they may feel embarrassed to be around their peers over the fears of inadequacy.
There are countless other reasons children feel anxiety and stress. A child can have some of these worries above yet not know how to articulate what has them on edge. When it comes to school, anxiety can drastically affect a child’s ability to learn since they are distracted by their stress and anxious feelings. They may feel shame or embarrassment over what they are feeling and not be able to focus on schoolwork or their classroom learning.
Below are a few strategies that may help your child overcome back-to-school anxieties:
Do trial trips to school. Take your child to their school when school is not in session and show them around the campus so they can familiarize themselves without the hustle and bustle of all the other kids.
Set up remote learning necessities. If your child is remote-learning, help your child understand how to open their online learning link, turn up the computer volume, and anything else they may need to know in simple terms so they can run their technology. When possible, set them up in a space they can call their own for the hours they are learning online, with necessities such as pencils, erasers, paper, water to quench their thirst so they feel more at ease and take ownership of their space and online experience.
Let a teacher know. Talk to a teacher or school counselor about the anxiety your child is struggling with and what it looks like when your child is anxious. Does she get quiet? Does he have more outbursts? Is she frustrated? Does he look sad? It’s important that your child feels they have an advocate on the other side, whether at school or online, to support him or her through their struggles.
Talk to your child. Talking through the feelings of anxiety may help lessen your child’s stress when it’s time to go to school each day. Ask your child about their emotions, truly listen to and acknowledge their worries, and support them through it. If you want a child who will talk to you, you must be willing to listen and support them through it.
Contact Creative Counseling Center
Is your child experiencing back to school anxiety? Request a free phone consultation with a member of our counseling team to learn if we can help your child develop effective coping strategies to manage their anxiety. Our office employs the best child counselors and play therapists in the Denver and we look forward to learning more about your child partnering him or her with the therapist best equipped to be of support.