The excitement of starting a new year oftentimes brings anxiety for children of all ages. Issues children face as they begin the new school year or enter new schools include pressure to fit in, bullying, and academic performance, among other things.
Research has shown that a minimal amount of anxiety actually helps people face challenges better; however, too much anxiety can have a negative effect and can be debilitating.
Left unresolved, anxiety can cause the child to want to avoid school altogether or cause a host of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, stomachaches, nausea, and sleeping problems. It can also lead to refusal by the child to go to school.
It is important to address children's fear early so as to avoid academic problems.
Parents can be of help by talking with their children about any concerns they may have going into the new school year. Parents of younger children can ask about feelings or thoughts regarding beginning the new school year, which will convey that it's ok to talk about their fears. Talking about or connecting with other children who will attend the same school can also be helpful in reducing anxiety.
Parents of teens may have a difficult time initiating conversation about issues. It's helpful to keep the lines of communication open by talking about other things of interest to teens or events going on in their lives. This may allow the teen to feel more comfortable about opening up to parents if anything is bothering them.
If a parent is having difficulty helping a child, don't hesitate to talk with a professional for guidance such as a school counselor, teacher, or a mental health practitioner in the community.
If a child's anxiety appears prolonged, it could be a sign of a deeper mental health issue that might warrant professional intervention.