Back to School Anxiety: From Kindergarten to College
Are you a mom whose child is going back to school? Or a student going back to school? Either way, this can be an anxious time for you. The first day of kindergarten can be the most anxious day of your life. And possibly your child’s as well. Some kids are fine on the first day of school and others may scream and cry the whole day. Others may scream and cry until you leave and then not want to leave when it is time to go home. You just never know.
What Causes Back to School Anxiety?
For you, it may just be that you are nervous for your child to start a new year. The fears of how their first day will be, if they will find their way to class, and whether they will make friends or not. For your child, it can be the same worries multiplied by a million. Especially if your child can tell that you are anxious for them. Some of the things that children may worry about include:
- Will I know anyone in my classes?
- Will I like my teachers?
- What if I do not fit in?
- What if I get lost?
- What if nobody likes me?
- Will I get good grades?
- Will I like school?
What Can I Do to Help?
Of course, you cannot make these fears go away for them but talking about it can help both of you. Find out what your child is anxious about and see what you can do to help alleviate those issues before school starts. For example, if your child is worried about knowing kids in their classes, talk to the other kids and parents in the district that you know. Go to orientation. There is almost always an orientation or open house before school starts and going to this can help both you and your child meet the teachers, see the classrooms, see other kids that will be in your child’s classes, explore the school, and get your child’s schedule so they know where to go. Just knowing where to go and what to do can ease a lot of the anxiety right away. You may not be able to help them know if people will like them or not but let them know that there is no reason why anyone would not like them. Encourage your child to be friendly and assertive by seeking out those who seem like they need a friend and make friends with them. This not only helps your child, but can help other children who may be feeling the same anxiety.
Kids who are going off to college may seem like they are old enough to be ready for anything but this is a very trying time for them as well. Especially if they will be living on campus far from home. The anxiety for both of you can be horrible but talking about it can help. In addition, just like with younger children, be proactive and encourage your child to get to know the school as much as possible before school starts. The more familiar they are with the school, the better they will feel.
Talk to Someone
If you or your child is still having trouble with back to school anxiety, reach out to someone. There are support groups and nearby therapists that can help you if you want to talk. Many websites have licensed psychologists that are available 24 hours a day every day. This can be beneficial to those who are too busy with school or motherhood to have time to find a therapist and make an appointment. Like you.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade; covering a variety of health related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.