Supporting Your Child Through Back-to-School Anxiety

By Charity Diaz, LMSW

As the summer season comes to an end, a new school year begins, and your child will transition into the next chapter of their childhood and academic journeys.  While these transitions are an exciting phase in a child’s life, such transitions can also cause a child to feel afraid, nervous, overwhelmed, stressed and uneasy which are common emotional indicators of anxiety.

As reported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.  Anxiety is a spectrum of baseline emotions such as feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically in reaction to something with an uncertain outcome.

A new school year experience such as starting a fresh routine, a grade promotion, meeting a new teacher, connecting with new classmates, and reconnecting with old classmates, could cause anxious feelings and basic jitters.  Nevertheless, it is still an exciting time for your child, and they will need emotional support and encouragement in facing this new experience.  This time in your child’s life is also a great way to strengthen your emotional bond with them as they navigate the world.

Whether it is a child’s first anxious experience or a reoccurring anxious experience, here are some easy tips:

  1. Prepare your child for the transition of their school day routine.

  2. Arrange a playdate with a schoolmate to support your child’s emotional adjustment.

  3. Have a shared plan set in place to acknowledge and reward your child’s new transition.

  4. Listen and validate your child’s worry by simply engaging in an age-appropriate dialogue to address their worry and add emotional support to encourage them.

Understanding your child’s emotional baseline and the signs of anxiety will provide a helpful direction in the way to move forward that will be beneficial for your child’s interpersonal wellbeing.  Wishing you and your family a wonderful school year!  

Resource: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-tips-to-ease-backtoschool-anxiety

Charity Diaz is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you are looking for support in finding solutions to enhance your overall wellness, contact Cobb Psychotherapy by calling 718-260-6042 or emailing reception@cobbpsychotherapy.com, and see how therapy can help.

Elizabeth Cobb