Easing Back to School Anxiety


Anxiety can show up in various parts of our lives. School is certainly one of those areas that can affect both children and their adults.

Heading back to school can be disconcerting as a change to normalized routines that get established over summer. Separation anxiety, fear of the unknown, and worry about making friends can all be stressful concepts when going back to the classroom. These things are normal and we are not alone!

How can we ease our children's anxiety about returning to learning? Here are some resources we found:

Back to the Classroom

  • Children's Health Hospital discusses strategies to try and alleviate anxiety such as offering encouragement to your child and celebrating even the small things.
  • Child Mind Institute provides practical ideas that adults can try. One highlight made is that managing your own stress will also help with stress that a child is feeling.
  • Tackle separation anxiety with these ideas from Sesame Street in Communities. Make up your own goodbye ritual and use it every day before school!
  • Very Well Family is helpful in offering possible solutions to back to school anxiety and can even help with identifying that anxiety.

COVID-19 Related

  • HealthyChildren.org tackles school during COVID-19 for students with ADHD, whether in person or virtually. It's important to continue your child's IEP plan and work with the school district to ensure your child gets the services they need.
  • This article from UNICEF emphasizes the many ways to help your child's mental health during this transition, including what to do if your child isn't in the same cohort as their friends.
  • Emerson Hospital offers 10 ways to help soothe anxiety before and after the start of school. My favorite piece of advice: keep the (developmentally appropriate) conversations going.
  • The Cleveland Clinic wants us to remember that children will make mistakes at first. Go easy on them and remind them of the rules.
  • Futurity has 4 tips parents can start doing right now. They suggest finding small ways to allow children to feel like they're in control.

Virtual Learning

  • How do we know when our children are anxious and what can we do about it? Two experts share their takes with UC Davis Health on the signs of anxiety. They recommend that when in doubt, professionals are there to help you through this.
  • How will you create an environment for learning? The Los Angeles Times interviewed an educational professional to get the ins and outs of a great virtual learning experience.
  • USAToday emphasizes that each child is different in their article for parents about virtual learning.
  • Houston Methodist Hospital has helpful tips for parents of virtual learners who are working from home. Try to stay flexible during interruptions!

What's working for you? How do you plan to ease back into school? Let us know in the comments below.

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