Behavior & Development • Aug 26, 2016

How to Help Your Child with Back to School Anxiety

Dr. Dehra Harris, Pediatric Psychiatrist with Washington University at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, discusses how to deal with back to school anxiety in children.

The start of a new school year can be a tense time for everyone, especially for children who are worried about going back to school. Some parents have trouble understanding the difference between fear and anxiety symptoms in children around this time of year. Some kids are really quiet when they’re worried, while others are more likely to tell you how they’re feeling.

One of the best places to start helping your child with school anxiety is asking them how they feel about going back to school. If your child expresses specific reasons they are having some back to school anxiety, it is important to address those fears and create a plan.

The biggest difference between fear and anxiety in children is how your child responds to what to do next. If your child is displaying school anxiety, the plan might not be enough to help your child cope with his or her fears. Anxiety loops on itself, and the feelings of fear will continue to repeat and come back if not addressed correctly.

  • Anxiety also tends to impact other places in your child’s life such as:
    • Activities with friends
    • How they sleep
    • Eating habits

If you have any questions about helping your child with back to school anxiety, contact the Family Resource Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital at 314.454.2350