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How to overcome back to school anxiety

While many approach the New Year with target-setting and aspirations for the good things to come, for some children, the prospect of returning to school after a holiday can be daunting. Back-to-school anxiety it very common and understandable. Throughout holidays, children settle into home routines and, for many, the thought of early mornings, constant socialisation and high levels of stimulation is challenging. Even grown-ups experience return-to-work anxiety!

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, experienced by everyone at some point in their lives. Feelings of anxiety trigger an innate ‘fight or flight’ response and can be triggered by a range of factors. Facing the unknown is one of them.

Children may worry or feel overexcited about seeing certain children in their peer group or how they feel about engaging in a particular lesson. Children may be recovering from illness or have to deal with spending time away from family and pets. Returning to school after time away can be tough.

Reluctance in returning to school may look like:

  • Not wanting to get up or get ready for school
  • Feeling unwell or complaining of stomach aches or headaches
  • Not sleeping well
  • Appearing more clingy than usual
  • Expressing themselves angrily, seeming upset, or acting out
  • Having bouts of unexplained crying
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Beginning to worry about small issues
  • Beginning to withdraw, seem down, or quiet

 How can I support my child?

Trying a few new strategies at home leading up to the return to school (or building them into the nightly routine) may help your child with their self-regulation. Click Here for a few options to consider:

Feeling worried, stressed or anxious are unpleasant feelings, but all emotions have their value. We cannot feel happy all of the time. Remember that your child will not always feel this way and helping them to accept their feelings as valid and valuable experiences will help to develop their emotional resiliency.

Ally Linney

Assistant Head (Pastoral)

Suggested Resources

The Anxiety Iceberg – How to support your child if they’re struggling with school anxiety – YouTube

Going back to school | Childline

Tips For Dealing With Back-to-school Anxiety | Blog | YoungMinds