Going back to school can be an extremely stressful time for many young people. A new school year usually comes with many worries and some anxiety. Dr. Martin Burch, in her article, explained that ‘back to school’ anxiety can manifest within young people in different forms.
- A child may repeatedly seek reassurance from their parents.
- A child may even experience physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.
- Some children might even experience a disrupted sleeping pattern.
It is important for parents or carers to take note of any changes or anxieties that their children might be displaying, and it’s even more important that they acknowledge and address it. As Dr. Martin Burch noted, it is extremely important for parents to confront their child’s anxiety than avoid it. They should focus on helping their child take small steps towards overcoming whatever obstacle might be causing them this ‘back to school’ anxiety. For example, your child might be feeling nervous about being in a new classroom and meeting new people. You could encourage your child to write a letter to their new teacher, where they could address these worries. This might help them feel less nervous on their first day.
Another way parents or carers can help is by talking positively about school and school activities. Parents can also engage their child in fun family activities in order to alleviate any stress their child could be experiencing. Reflecting on their own school memories fondly and in a positive light can also help their child feel less nervous about going back to school.
Additionally, young people can manage their ‘back to school’ anxiety by remembering that they are not alone in feeling the way they feel. Sometimes sharing our worries with people that we trust can be extremely cathartic. Parents/carers should encourage young people to voice their worries and reassure them that what they feel is normal.
- Practice this breathing technique: Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for five seconds, then breathe out through your mouth.
- Pay attention to your sleep pattern and try to make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Take part in a fun physical activity such as a sport that you enjoy. Research shows that exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
Remember that you are not alone, and that help is always available. Contact Ignite Life for further support or check out our other social media pages for more tips.
Written by: Ushiya Bhatti