How to support back to school anxieties

Illustration of child at school with head in their hands

Different experiences

It’s important to remember that children have had hugely different experiences during school holidays. Some children who experience anxiety normally may experience a break from everyday triggers for their anxiety. For them going back to school is going to be very anxiety provoking.

There are other children who have had a great time with families and don’t want to return to school. And then of course there are many children who have been in family situations with lots of arguing, and possibly violence and neglect who will find getting back to school a refuge. Do not assume that you know how children feel, and be aware of how you model your own anxiety when speaking to a child about returning to school.


We don’t have all the answers

It’s ok to not have the answers. In fact, it’s better not to pretend that you know.

It’s very tempting to give lots of reassurance to your child, as it may relieve anxiety in the short term. In the long term it can cause the anxiety to persist. Instead, listen and ask them what they think about going back to school. If they have any back to school anxieties, ask them what they think will help.

For more information, watch our film on Tips for returning to school.