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From Worries to Confidence: Tackling School Anxiety Head-On!

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

A young boy holding onto a fence wearing a backpack

As the summer draws to a close, it's not uncommon for kids to experience those back-to-school jitters.

Transitioning from a relatively relaxed summer vacation to a structured school routine can create stress and anxiety, and it can be really overwhelming for some children.

It's important to recognize that these feelings are natural, and to provide support during this time of adjustment. By acknowledging our child's worries and offering reassurance, we can help alleviate the anxiety associated with starting a new school year.

Sometimes, school anxiety for kids continues and it can manifest in various ways, such as excessive worrying, fear of failure, or social anxiety. Understanding the root causes of your child's anxiety can help you provide the necessary support and guidance when they are struggling.

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Signs and Symptoms of School Anxiety

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of school anxiety is the first step in addressing it.

Some common indicators include:

  • frequent complaints of physical ailments like headaches or stomachaches

  • difficulty sleeping

  • avoidance of school-related activities

  • excessive worry or fear

It's important to pay attention to these signs and take them seriously. By acknowledging and validating your child's feelings, you can create a safe space for them to express their concerns so they can begin to overcome their anxiety.

Common Triggers of School Anxiety

School anxiety can be triggered by a variety of factors. Academic pressures, social interactions, and fear of judgment are just a few examples. It's important to identify the specific triggers that are causing anxiety in order to address them effectively. By understanding what is causing the distress, you and your child's teacher can work together to develop strategies to help your child navigate these challenges with confidence.

Strategies to Help a Child with Anxiety about School

There are several strategies that can be implemented to help kids with school anxiety:

  • First and foremost, open and honest communication is key. Encourage your child to talk about their fears and concerns, and validate their feelings.

  • Create a routine and structure to provide a sense of stability. Break tasks down into manageable steps to avoid overwhelming your child.

  • Additionally, teaching relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises, can help them cope with anxiety-inducing situations. Remember, every child is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the strategies that work best for your child.

When My Worries Get Too Big book

As a clinician, I've always liked and recommended the relaxation book:

for kids who have big feelings and

struggle with anxiety.

How to Deal with Back to School Anxiety as a Parent

As a parent, it's totally natural to experience your own anxieties when it comes to your child's well-being. However, it's important to manage your own emotions in order to provide the support and guidance your child needs.

Here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Take time to educate yourself about school anxiety and its effects.

  2. Remain calm and reassuring when discussing school-related matters with your child.

  3. Encourage them to express their feelings and actively listen without judgment.

By modeling a positive and confident attitude, you can help your child navigate through their own anxieties and build resilience.

Coping Mechanisms for School Anxiety

In addition to the strategies mentioned earlier, there are various coping mechanisms that can help kids manage their school anxiety.

  • Encourage your child to engage in activities they enjoy outside of school to promote a healthy work-life balance.

  • Regular exercise can also be beneficial in reducing anxiety and improving overall well-being.

  • Teaching your child effective time-management skills can help them feel more in control of their academic responsibilities.

  • Lastly, remind your child of their strengths and achievements to boost their self-confidence and remind them that they are capable of overcoming challenges.

A boy and a girl jumping on a trampoline and laughing

Creating a Supportive Environment for Anxious Students

Creating a supportive environment is crucial in helping anxious students thrive. Your child's teachers play a vital role in this process. It's important for teachers to establish a safe and inclusive classroom environment where students feel comfortable expressing their worries and seeking help when needed.

Implementing strategies such as providing clear expectations, offering praise and encouragement, and fostering a sense of belonging can greatly alleviate school anxiety. When parents, teachers, and school counselors collaborate, this creates a consistent and supportive network for anxious students to be most successful.

Seeking Professional Help for School Anxiety

If your child's anxiety persists and significantly impacts their daily life, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Mental health professionals, such as therapists or psychologists, can provide specialized support and interventions tailored to your child's needs. Seeking professional help when needed is a proactive step towards helping your child overcome their school anxiety and achieve their full potential.


School anxiety can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for both kids and their parents. When we understand the signs, address the triggers, and implement effective strategies, we can empower our kids to tackle their anxieties head-on and build their confidence. Remember, each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient, offer support, and celebrate small victories for your child along the way.

A young Asian boy wearing a big smile

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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