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Back-to-School Anxiety Tips for Children and Parents. By Our Student Pharmacist, Deema Alhaj.


The transition from carefree summer days to the structured routine of school can often spark anxiety in both children and parents. This back-to-school anxiety is a common experience, but it can be managed effectively with proactive strategies. By understanding the sources of anxiety and implementing practical coping techniques, both children and parents can navigate this transition with greater ease and confidence.

For Children:

  1. Open Conversations: Encourage open conversations about school. Ask your child how they feel about returning, what excites them, and what worries them. Validating their feelings and showing empathy can help alleviate their anxiety.
  2. Positive Visualization: Help your child visualize positive outcomes. Encourage them to imagine themselves succeeding in different school scenarios, like making new friends or understanding a challenging subject.
  3. Familiarity Breeds Comfort: Visit the school before it starts. Familiarity with the school environment can help reduce anxiety. Walk around the campus, locate classrooms, and discuss their daily routine to make them feel more at ease.
  4. Establish a Routine: Reestablishing a routine before school starts can help children ease into the transition. Gradually adjust bedtime, wake-up times, and meal schedules to align with the school routine.
  5. Stay Organized: Help your child get organized with school supplies and materials. This can give them a sense of control and preparedness, which reduces anxiety about being unprepared.
  6. Stay Positive: Share stories of your own school experiences and highlight the positive aspects. Remind them of the fun they’ll have with friends, engaging activities, and new learning opportunities.

For Parents:

  1. Empathetic Listening: Pay attention to your child’s concerns and anxieties. Listen without judgment and show empathy, which will help them feel understood and supported.
  2. Lead by Example: If you, as a parent, show enthusiasm about the upcoming school year, your child is more likely to adopt a positive outlook as well.
  3. Establish a Transition Period: Gradually transition from the relaxed summer schedule to the school routine. This can help ease the abrupt shift and allow both you and your child to adapt more smoothly.
  4. Collaborate with Teachers: Build a strong relationship with your child’s teacher. Having a clear line of communication can help you stay informed about your child’s progress and address any concerns promptly.
  5. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Teach your child relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or simple yoga stretches. These techniques can be invaluable tools for managing anxiety.
  6. Encourage Problem-Solving: Teach your child problem-solving skills to address challenges that may arise at school. Knowing they have strategies to handle various situations can boost their confidence.
  7. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge your child’s accomplishments, no matter how small. Celebrating milestones can boost their self-esteem and help them feel more confident in their abilities.
  8. Limit Over-Scheduling: While extracurricular activities are valuable, be mindful not to over-schedule your child, which can lead to burnout and increased anxiety.
  9. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Prioritize healthy meals, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. Physical well-being significantly impacts emotional well-being.

Remember that back-to-school anxiety is a common experience. Parents can help children navigate this transition with resilience and confidence by creating a supportive and understanding environment. With the right strategies, the return to school can become an exciting opportunity for growth and learning for both children and parents alike.

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