Going back to school, especially after a long time away, such as the resumption of in-person learning, can be a tricky mountain to navigate. Recent studies indicate that children have reported increasing anxiety due to COVID-19.
As such, your child may find themselves feeling overwhelmed with the thought of resuming learning for one reason or the other. This anxiety is normal and completely understandable. As a parent, you might feel helpless watching your child fight the back-to-school anxiety, but there are ways you can help them combat the issue.
Signs That Your Child Has Back-to-School Anxiety
As a parent, you might not easily notice if your child is experiencing back-to-school anxiety. However, your child may often find themselves wondering about so many things that lead up to them feeling nervous about resuming studies after a long lazy break.
Some of the questions your little one might have include:
“Will I be able to make friends?”
“Will my friends attend class with me?”
“Are my clothes okay?”
Some back to school anxiety is standard, but here are ways you can tell that your child isn’t exactly looking forward to going back to school:
- They appear more clingy than usual
- They are fidgety and restless
- They complain of stomach aches
- Their sleeping and eating patterns have changed
- They frequently start crying unprovoked
- They have difficulty concentrating
- They get upset quickly
Three Tips to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety
Here are some ways to identify and tackle back-to-school anxiety and help your child have an easy time adjusting to school.
1. Create a Sense of Familiarity with Them
As the school reopening date nears, it’s crucial that you help your child feel more comfortable and adjust to the new school environment. A huge factor contributing to your child developing back-to-school jitters stems from being unsure of what to expect.
Help them familiarize themselves with the surroundings and new routines by talking with them. Sit them down and talk to them about what they should expect. Provide them with a safe space for asking questions and answering them as honestly as possible.
You can also build their comfort level by making a few trips back and from school to help them familiarize themselves again with the route. This will help them feel more connected to the school.
Sit them down and talk to them about what they should expect.
2. Create a Routine
It may sound like a cliche but creating a routine helps your child beat back-to-school anxiety in more ways than one. This is because predictability helps them anticipate what comes next and how to handle anything that comes their way. Knowing what to expect will help your child concentrate more and feel less anxious.
Create a healthy routine with their sleep patterns. Establish sleeping and waking hours to help them plan their day effectively. Also, having a clear schedule of eating helps establish a workable routine.
3. Let Them Know It’s Okay
Validation goes a long way in helping your child feel understood. Sit them down and let them know that it’s okay to feel some way about going back to school. Remind them that such feelings are only temporary and are due to pass.
Be empathetic and ask them questions regarding their fear to help establish the root of the anxiety. You can also tell them about your own worries to help them realize that it’s normal to have such feelings.
Additionally, you can read some books with them to get the discussion going about their anxiety. These books are a great way to build your child’s confidence and develop positive thinking.
The best way of helping your child beat their back-to-school anxiety is to be there for them as best as you can. Listen to them whenever they have concerns and don’t minimize their feelings. Give them the necessary space they need to process their anxious feelings without any judgment.
However, if your child’s back-to-school anxiety hinders them from going on with their daily life or getting along with other people, it might be time to get them the necessary help from a licensed psychiatrist.