Back-to-school anxiety is very common, and this year, we expect that many children will be feeling anxious about returning to school after such an unusual school year. To support caregivers and parents, we’ve put together a few simple tips that can help manage anxiety in children going back to school.
As with most things, having children identify their own solutions to anxiety will be more effective than coming up with solutions for them. You can guide your child to find what works for them by helping them identify tools for their own personal worry toolbox.
Here are a few suggestions of tools that work for some kids, however feel free to adapt this or come up with your own ideas based on your own child’s needs.
- Something for deep breathing, such as a pinwheel or bubbles
- A transitional object – something they may be able to take to school in a backpack or lunch box, or stash in their locker or desk to help remind them that they are able to lessen the worry
- A stop sign drawing, which can remind them that they have the power to “stop” or slow down the worry
- Word bubbles jotted on a piece of paper, that the child can write ideas for what they can say to the worry to make it go away or make it smaller
Again, it is important to encourage children to find their own solutions and see what works for them. Offer ideas if they ask, and try to recall things that have worked for them in the past. The tools that will be most effective for them are those that they have had a hand in contributing to their personal toolkit.