School Anxiety: 4 Common Causes & How to Help Your Kids This Year
Returning to the classroom can trigger back-to-school anxiety in kids. Here’s how to tackle a few common causes of school anxiety head on.
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5. Emphasize that your child isn't alone.
Remind your kids that they’re not the only new ones at school. Even some teachers are new. Tell them that the teacher is aware of nerves and will do their best to make kids feel more comfortable.
How to Help Kids Overcome Lingering COVID Concerns
Many kids haven’t had in-person schooling for a full day since March 2020. Perhaps their school had a remote, hybrid, or half-day model. Going to school full time can seem foreign.
1. Establish open communication.
Let your child know that you’re always available to talk about anything and everything. A good time to chat is before lights out. They often open up and feel comfortable and safe right before bed. It’s when they’re getting 1-on-1 attention and feel relaxed.
2. Be present for your child.
Aim to be there for your child right before school starts and during the first few days back to help them feel more secure. If you can’t be there, ask a friend or family member to take on this role for you.
3. Plan something special to celebrate the first day.
Give them something to look forward to—like a trip for an ice cream cone or a visit to a favorite playground. That way they’ll anticipate a fun activity. You can even make it an annual tradition.
4. Emphasize the safety measures the school is following.
We can’t promise our kids that we won’t get sick, but we can express confidence in public health efforts, and that schools have done months of planning to minimize risk and keep everyone safe.
5. Encourage flexibility for last-minute changes.
We don’t know how “normal” most kids’ schools will be in the fall, and plans may be changing up to the last minute. Let your child know that the whole family will have to be flexible.
How to Help Kids with Back-to-School Anxiety About the Workload
For those who spent months out of traditional in-person school due to the pandemic, returning to the classroom may feel scary. They may worry and wonder if they have the skills to get the job done after sitting behind a computer for so long.
1. Create a homework routine.
Predictability and structure reduce stress in kids and reinforce good habits, particularly when it comes to tackling schoolwork. Create a designated homework space in the house away from the chaos. Let the kids decorate and stock the space to make it feel like their special spot. It's also a good idea to help your kids learn time management skills; show them the below video as a starting point!
2. Make sure your child goes to bed early on school nights.
No more staying up late catching fireflies or playing video games. Kids need to go to sleep early enough so they’re well-rested for school. Get them into their school bedtime routine a week or two before school starts so they’re back on track before day one.
3. If your child is struggling, consider hiring a tutor.
If you sense they’re anxious about a particular subject, like math or reading, consider hiring a tutor. A tutor can get them back on track academically and help boost their confidence in the classroom