Home > Kids > School Age > How to help your child feel less anxious about going back to school

The time has finally come. Homeschooling is officially over!

But before you crack open the bubbles, it might be worth checking in on your kids to see how they’re feeling.

Yes, we bet they can’t wait either, but they might also be a little scared.

And we don’t blame them. We’re terrified of giving up our sweatpants too – hey maybe we won’t.

Crumbs, even at the best of times, going back to school can be a nerve-wracking experience, so with a huge break, it’s understandable that your child may be feeling anxious.

Anxiety comes out in different ways in different people. Perhaps they aren’t sleeping well, they’re less hungry, being a little more clingy than usual or upset.

Want to help? Read on to find out the best ways to beat back-to-school nerves.

Get them in the mood for school.

Chat about their teacher, their friends, who they’ll be with and what their day used to be like. It will help them remember why they loved being at school and will encourage their excitement. You could even drive or walk by the school just to get them familiar with it again.

Reignite the routine

This weekend get them used to a morning routine of eating breakfast and being dressed in actual clothes…ideally sometime before lunch.

Organise their gear

Back to School stationery is the best! Help them to sort out their pencil cases and book bags etc… If your child is feeling anxious, the last thing they want is to forget their kit for PE and be the only one not able to join in. Make a to-do list, and if your child is old enough, let them pack their bag and show them how to tick it all off the list, so they feel grown up and in control.

Instigate question time

Find a moment that’s right for you, whether it’s breakfast or bed and allow your child to talk about what may be making them anxious. You could try creating a ‘Six Minutes of Questions Quiz’, where they can ask you anything, and it opens up the chance for you to check in on them. Or ask the whole family to share the best and worst moments of their day before you eat your dinner. This usually leads children to expand on experiences themselves if they’re reluctant to answer the standard ‘How was your day?’.

Use your scent to calm their mood

Not all schools allow children to take things in…especially nowadays (thank you, Covid). If they aren’t allowed to take their special something in, it may sound creepy, but spraying a little bit of your regular perfume onto the sleeve of their jumper will make them feel more at ease by having your scent around them.

Get them to use a journal

OK, they might not want to give you a run-down of their emotions each day, but you could persuade your kids to draw a picture and a word or a sentence to go along with it. It’s an excellent way for children to express their emotions via their scribbles, and it can be done at any age. Happy Confident Me Journal, £9.99

Create a worry box

Set your children up with a private mini letterbox (an old shoebox with a slit in will do). Let them decorate it if they want to and pop it in their room. Leave a little pile of paper and a pen next to it, and when they’re feeling worried or anxious or generally unsure about something, they can write down their thoughts and pop it in the box. This will help take away their worries and leaving it in their room gives the element of privacy…especially if they have siblings hanging about.

Remember to praise them

Encouragement can feel like a massive achievement for your child. The fact that they strutted into school without clinging onto you for dear life is a HUGE achievement for them. So, acknowledge this and go OTT on the praise. They’ve had to adjust to a lot in such a short space of time, and they do need credit for this.

Make a dream catcher

Run out of things to do at home? Why not make some dream catchers. Anxiety, more often than not, will have a roll-on effect on your little one’s sleep. To help them feel more at ease, spend some time together making dream catchers. You can reassure them that this will help take away their worries at nighttime, in the hope of a better snooze.

Let someone else’s words do the talking

Books are a great tool to help your child express their feelings. Sometimes they may not know why they feel a certain way, so reading about it will help and reassure them that this is totally OK! Some suggestions are: • Rubys Worry • The Little Paw’s Hotel (series) • Hey Warrier • William Wobbly and The Very Bad Day • The Lion Inside • The Huge Bag of Worries

If you’re really worried, ask for help

Never feel afraid to seek out professional help. It doesn’t mean you are failing, if anything you are winning at being a brilliant parent that only wants the best for them.

Based on what you love