5 Tips For Coping With Back To School Anxiety

We are currently living in unprecedented times and it is incredible to think about what our children are experiencing when we often struggle to process it ourselves as adults! With the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, it can be difficult to predict what the future will look like and this can lead to anxiety and stress.

As a child therapist in Worcestershire, one of the main issues I am continually hearing about is children’s anxiety about returning to school. Although many children are back in the classroom some are still facing anxiety and stress every day and are struggling to cope. Some have not yet returned and this is a major worry for them following the covid 19 lockdowns.

During my NLP therapy sessions in Worcestershire, I have many tools and techniques that can help children to think positively about returning to school, and I have included my 5 top tips below which you can follow to help ease the worries and anxieties that your child is facing.

What causes Back To School Anxiety?

As humans, although change is something that is good for us, it often makes us uncomfortable. This can cause that feeling of worry and uncertainty which many children struggle to cope with. Children have got used to being isolated at home and now are faced with returning to the classroom with around 30 other children. This is a big change, as well as the shift from online lessons to face to face teaching and going from wearing comfy clothes to their school uniform, all of which can cause anxiety.

With the return to school also comes the return to routine. Children will need to have more organisation with getting up and getting ready for school, getting to school on time and having a specific lesson and play/lunchtimes. Whilst having a structure is helpful for all of us, it can be a worry for children when things have been more flexible during the lockdown.

Children may have anxieties about having to rebuild relationships with friends and teachers who they may not have had regular contact with over lockdown and whether things will be the same as they were before. Their interests might have changed and they may not have been able to attend regular hobbies that they enjoy, which adds to the anxiety about seeing people face to face again.

Children may also be feeling the pressure of catching up with gaps in their knowledge and can feel like they have fallen behind. This can lead to them wanting to bury their head in the sand, rather than making progress from where they are now. The main focus of NLP therapy is moving in a forward direction and helping people to grow and develop, rather than dwelling on the past.

How can I help my child feel less anxiety about going back to school?

1. Listen to your child. Give them 10 minutes of your time every day – no distractions, just a safe space to voice their worries. What exactly is it that is making them feel anxious? This will require you to do more listening than talking. At first, they might be unsure themselves what it is they are worried about – but just having that time to think and talk about it will make a huge difference. You may find that they are more comfortable talking to another trusted adult. This could be a teacher, family member or therapist.

• Preparation is key. Is there anything that can be done in advance to make the return to school easier for them? This could be something longer term such as meeting up with a friend or having a chat with the teacher beforehand to ease social anxieties or more short term such as ensuring the school bag and uniform are prepped the night before to help with worries about the organisation and to make the morning calm and stress-free.

• Be Positive. Talk to your child about the things they used to enjoy about school. This could be seeing their friends, any particular lessons they enjoyed, or after school clubs. It is so important that we model to our children the emotions and states that we want them to have. Talking about school in a calm and positive way will reinforce the idea that it is a fun and happy place to be.

• Feedback. This can be from your child, teachers, therapist or any other adults that your child has contact with. Again – listening is vital! Talk to your child about their day – was there anything that worried them? What did they enjoy? What did they learn? What made them laugh? Be sure to end on a positive and use this in future conversations with them!

• Be flexible. What works for your child one week may not work the next, and it is important to roll with your child and their changing needs. Being patient is essential, and again modelling the calm, positive attitude that you want to see in your child will help them to recognise the resources they need to manage their challenges in the future.

Do you need more help?
If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your child and would like to book in for a free consultation in Worcester or online, call 07794 020471 or email joanne@nlp4kids.org


By Jo Doherty
Licensed NLP4Kids Practitioner

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