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Helping Your Child Cope with Back-to-School Anxiety

July 20, 2022

As another school year begins, many children face fresh challenges that may generate significant amounts of stress. While some anxiety is normal and even expected at the beginning of any life transition, excessive fear can lead to several issues that can impact your child’s performance in school. Fortunately, parents can play an active role in helping their child cope with back-to-school stress. At Life Insight, we are dedicated to helping individuals of all ages manage anxiety and increase their quality of life. Here are a few tips to help your child manage anxiety this fall. 

Practice Healthy Habits

First and foremost, parents need to ensure that their child is living a healthy lifestyle. Nervous children sometimes don’t eat or sleep enough, which can cause a cycle of heightened anxiety. Make sure your child is eating enough by providing nutritious snacks. Moreover, promote good sleep habits to make sure they get a full night’s sleep. Establish a bedtime routine to make life feel more predictable. 

Provide a Listening Ear

Encourage your child to talk about his or her worries. Let them know that it is normal to have anxiety from time to time, and be a listening ear where they can openly discuss what’s on their mind. Choose a private space where you can offer your undivided attention, such as before bedtime or while on a walk together. Showing your child that you are there to support them can significantly aleviate their worries. 

Focus on Problem Solving Rather than Reassurance

It’s natural for children to seek reassurance from their parents. They may come to you to make sure whatever bad thing they’re afraid of won’t happen. Even though reassurance provides short-term relief, it can be harmful in the long run since it doesn’t address the underlying problems. For example, if your child is worried about doing well in a specific subject, help them find tools that can aid them in their studies. Tangible answers to their concerns are more effective, as your child will have increased confidence and will be more prepared to handle unexpected situations. 

Encourage a Positive Mindset

If your child is focused on everything that could go wrong at the start of the school year, try to redirect their attention to the positive aspects of school. Ask your child to name a few things they are looking forward to, whether that’s seeing their friends, recess or going on field trips. Chances are, your child is overlooking the positive aspects due to their worries, so reminding them of the good can ease some of the stress. 

Consider Your Own Behavior

Understandably, many parents have anxiety about the new school year themselves. By being a confident role model for your child, you can increase their own security. Let your child know there is nothing to be afraid of, but don’t give in to their tantrums or crying. Be supportive and acknowledge their fears, but make it clear that they cannot avoid going to school. 

Talk to a Therapist at Life Insight

When your child is dealing with back-to-school anxiety, therapy is among the best ways to prepare them for the challenges ahead. Our team at Life Insight has plenty of experience in working with children and is more than happy to help. Call us now to schedule an intake appointment.

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