As a parent, you don’t want to see your child deal with issues we most commonly associate with adulthood, especially when those issues are anxiety or depression.
We often think about the childhood years as being completely carefree. If only that were the case. Children, unfortunately, also deal with anxiety, worries, and stress. Childhood anxiety most often stems from three main areas: school, friends, or at times, home life.
This week’s blog post will focus on childhood anxiety as it relates to all matters of their schooling. With the new school year quickly approaching, it is a perfect time to start helping your child navigate school anxiety.
School Anxiety and Children
Children experience anxiety about school for many different reasons. We’ll go over the top reasons and discuss what you can do to support them in each section.
New School Year
A new school year is scary for children of all ages. Even young adults in college can experience this. Younger children may have no idea what to expect about their day when they will those first few years of school. It’s a big change from being home in a familiar setting to uncharted territories.
Once they are accustomed to what happens at the beginning of a new school year, this may be getting replaced with the fear of fitting in with their classmates or making friends. Concerns over who their teachers will be, if they will have classes or lunch with their close friends, and so much more can run rampant throughout their minds.
If you have a child in the early years of schooling, don’t hesitate to go with them and walk them through the halls they will be in. Many schools will also offer a new student orientation where the children can meet other kids they will be in class with and see where they will spend their time.
You can help older children by getting them into a school routine in late July or early August. Try to reinforce bedtimes again if you became slack over the summer months. Establishing a routine can help a child feel more prepared for the new school year when they know what to expect.
Homework & Grades
Once they pass the past few years of elementary school, the emphasis on grades, homework, and test scores will begin. This puts a lot of pressure on kids at an early age to consistently perform well with their grades.
Children aren’t exactly known to have the best time management skills. So having assignments continuously made throughout the day and tests to study for can feel overwhelming. It’s no different for adults who struggle to juggle work, home life, children, and finances. It’s just manifesting itself differently.
Now is a great time to begin building foundational skills they will need for the rest of their lives. Teach them about starting a project early instead of at the last minute to help them not to feel rushed and overwhelmed.
When they are in school, the last thing they often want to do is come home to do their schoolwork. That is completely fine. Let them have a half hour or 45 minutes after school to unwind from the school day. If they have multiple assignments to get done at night, let them have short breaks in between to regroup their focus on the next task.
Help Beyond the Classroom
Helping your child navigate anxiety also involves being a listening ear. If they feel overwhelmed by something, you shouldn’t brush off their experience and make them feel silly about it. If it’s impacting them, even if you can’t understand it, they should feel like you do.
Sometimes, childhood anxiety is the beginning sign of an anxiety disorder developing later in life. Don’t hesitate to contact us for child therapy so we can help you and them manage their anxieties around school and anything else going on in their life.