Know the Signs
Some worries are to be expected. It’s not easy to walk into a new classroom with a new teacher and start from scratch every single year. Watch for these sneaky symptoms of anxiety as the new school year begins:
- changes in eating habits
- sleep disturbance
- clingy behavior
- meltdowns or tantrums
- nail biting, hair twirling, skin picking
- headaches or stomach pains
- avoiding normal daily activities
- increased irritability
- increased crying
- social isolation
If your child exhibits some of these symptoms for more than two weeks, get an evaluation. Many children can work through back-to-school anxiety independently, but when anxiety interferes with normal daily living, kids need help.
How to Deal with Back-to-School Anxiety
Consistency and routines are always a great place to start when it comes to squashing those back-to-school worries! Try some of these strategies to help your child ease into the new school year:
Attend school (and be early!). While it’s perfectly normal to have worries when starting a new school year, it’s very important to attend school each day. A huge meltdown might have you wondering if you should simply try another day, but avoidance of school will only increase and reinforce your child’s anxiety. Missing school because of anxiety robs your child of the chance to gain mastery, make friends, enjoy a successful school day and develop a relationship with the teacher.
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