Cheshire's Mental Health Hub

Helping Your Child Cope with Back-to-School Anxiety

It’s been an amazing summer, hasn’t it? The sun’s been out and many of us have enjoyed spending time with the family. However, this summer is nearing its end and it will soon be time for the children to head back to school, or in some cases start their first day of school either at primary or secondary level. And a lot of children experience what is known as back-to-school anxiety.

Back-to-school anxiety is a common experience felt by many young people as they worry themselves about the new transition, whether that be to a new class, a new school or just entering a new period in their lives. Back-to-school anxiety can cause tears, anger, withdrawal, irritation and even claims of headaches or stomach aches to avoid the inevitable.

Your child may be worried about their new teacher, who’s in their class, the subject matter, and many more things. Children often have the same worries and concerns that we as adults have and it is important to keep that in mind when dealing with a child that isn’t quite ready for going back-to-school.

What can you do to support your child as they return to school?

Ensure they have a pattern. Regular bed times, meal times and even mild exercise will help give your child structure. It’s best to prepare your child a week in advance so that they know that life is returning to normal after their long summer break.

You can talk with your child about school. Listen to how they are feeling about going back-to-school and see if there is anything worrying them. Understanding the problem with empathy and compassion will make them feel better.

Allay your child’s concerns. Tell them that there is nothing to worry about and going back-to-school is all about growing up. Explain they will make new friends as much as they will keep their old ones, and that they always have your support if they need it!

Focus on positive experiences. In your talk with them, find out what excites them about going back to school, and what they are looking forward to doing. That’ll help them concentrate on what they are looking forward to instead of what they’re worried about.

Speak with their teacher. Of course, making their teacher aware that they are suffering from back-to-school anxiety is important. They will know to be especially aware of your child’s needs and can provide additional support from within the classroom.

Hopefully these tips will help your child settle into their new classroom environment with ease. Our friends at Young Minds have some additional advice for helping your child deal with anxiety here.

If your child is still stressed or suffering from back-to-school anxiety, you should know that you can also find a host of youth groups on our website suitable for children with anxiety in Cheshire.

These groups could be a great way to help your child meet other children and feel better about themselves even if they are struggling at school. Search now