The back-to-school season can be an exciting yet anxious time for both parents and children. As summer comes to an end, the prospect of a new school year brings change, uncertainty, and stress. Students face new teachers, classmates, schedules, and academic challenges. Parents worry about their child's adjustment and performance. These transitions and the unknowns that come with them are common triggers for back-to-school anxiety.
Recognising the Signs
Anxiety can manifest differently depending on a child’s age. Younger kids may refuse to go to school, cling to parents, throw tantrums, or regress behaviorally, while older children may verbalise specific academic worries. Headaches, stomachaches, and difficulties sleeping may indicate somatic symptoms. Possible signs include:
If you notice these lasting signs, speak to your child with empathy and seek support from the school counsellor. A paediatrician or therapist can guide you if problems persist.
5 Tips for Easing Anxiety
When to Seek Help
If symptoms last over a month with no improvement, meet with a mental health professional for evaluation and treatment. Untreated school avoidance can worsen over time. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medications may help in addressing persistent school refusal.
With compassion, patience and support, families can work through back-to-school anxiety struggles together. Maintaining open communication and seeking help when needed can set the stage for a successful school year ahead.