Will my friends be in my class? What if my teacher is mean? I can’t remember anything I learned last year! What if math is too hard for me? Kids can worry about many different back to school-related issues. Even though we can’t know the exact thoughts going on in our kiddo’s head, you may have noticed they are acting strange whenever school is mentioned. We know that nervous and apprehensive feelings about the start of school are completely normal, but that doesn’t make us want to help our kids any less.

We spoke with Dr. Melanie Badali, registered psychologist and board member of AnxietyBC, to get her suggestions on what we as parents can do before school starts to prepare our kids and help them feel less anxious.

back to school anxiety

Dr. Badali’s recommends planning ahead to help ease the transition from summer vacation back to school.

1 – 2 weeks before school:

2-3 days before school:

1 day before school

The first day of school:

After you’ve made it through the hectic start of school and settle into a routine, you may notice your kiddo has anxious feelings that pop up throughout the school year. Dr. Badali has a few more suggestions to help you and them through it.

The most important thing she stresses is that it is crucial to have your child attend school. In the short term, allowing kids to skip school may decrease their distress, but this decrease in anxiety is only temporarily. Long term, avoidance of people, things, and situations that make children anxious will maintain the anxiety. Skipping school will only increase your child’s fears because they never get a chance to find out if their worries are valid.

back to school anxiety

Here are Dr. Badali’s other tips for helping your kids with school-related anxiety:

In some cases, you will need to seek extra support. This may come from a school counsellor, psychologist, teacher, or other health or education professional. Do not hesitate to ask for support.

Here are a number of resources from AnxietyBC that you may find helpful if you find your kiddo getting anxious about school:

Coping with Back to School Anxiety  

Helping Your Child Cope with Back-to-School Anxiety

My Anxiety Plan for Separation Anxiety

Home Management Strategies for Separation Anxiety

School Refusal

 

By: Michelle Hughes

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