Skip to main content

Back-To-School Anxiety...It’s REAL!

New Jersey

It’s September and another opportunity to celebrate all kinds of newness.

It’s a new month, a new season, a new school year, new commitments to our professional selves, a new fiscal year, and an opportunity to make new friends.

But there are some things we should all concern ourselves with.

For instance, in today’s climate, especially in the aftermath of COVID, ongoing school shootings, a rise in mental health issues and so much more, many of our children and young adults are returning to school with Back-to-School Anxiety.

Dr Hudson

This is real, parents, so do not ignore it!

Don’t take it for granted that your child is safe or that he/she is just trying to get out of going to school.

At the very least, check things out for your peace of mind and for the safety and health of your child.

While there are many signs of anxiety that children may exhibit, here are four associated with school and ones of which you should be aware:

  1. If your child continually seeks reassurance or asks repeated, worrisome questions despite having already received an answer, you might consider looking further into this. A few of the kinds of questions they may ask include, but are in no way exhaustive of the following:
    • “What if I don’t have anyone to sit with during lunchtime?”
    • “What if I don’t know anyone because it’s a new school?”
    • “What if my friends are not in my class?”
  2. If your child has increased physical complaints, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue in the absence of an actual illness, this, too, is worth checking out.
  3. If there is a significant change in your child’s sleep pattern, such as taking an hour to fall asleep when he/she normally falls to sleep fairly quickly or if your child is waking you up with worries during the night when he/she typically sleeps well, this may very well be another red flag so don’t ignore it. Checking it out won’t hurt anything.
  4. When your child avoids school-related activities, such as school tours, teacher meet-and-greets, or avoiding school once the year starts, it should be seen as another alarm.   

Make it a point to dig deeper to get to the bottom of each issue to that you can discern whether these things are normal or problematic.

At any rate, if after the first month or so of school, and your child, whether a kindergartner, middle schooler, or high schooler, continues to show distress around school, or if the symptoms are worsening, it may be time to seek an evaluation from a professional.

Remember, it’s far better to be safe than to be sorry.

After all, you have nothing to lose if nothing is found to be wrong, but you have everything to gain should there be an issue and you have recognized it and sought the necessary support your child deserves.

Until next time, keep flying on your own wings!