How parents can alleviate back-to-school anxiety

Parents play a pivotal role in easing their child's anxiety. Remaining calm and portraying school as a safe and enjoyable space is crucial.

Reinforce the positive aspects of starting school, emphasising the chance to make new friends and engage in fun activities. Validating your child’s concerns and reminding them of past successful adaptations to change can be reassuring.

Practical steps include visiting the school with your child, introducing them to school staff, and utilising visual aids like photos or the school’s website. Planning playdates before the school starts can also help foster connections with peers. Creating a checklist of necessary items for school, ticked off together as they are acquired, can instil a sense of progress.

Incorporate positive affirmations into your routine, such as “I am brave, I know I can,” to boost your child’s confidence. Encouraging a growth mindset approach, where making mistakes is seen as an opportunity for growth, can be particularly beneficial.

Lastly, normalise feelings of anxiety, assuring your child that it’s a natural part of change. Allow them time to settle into the new environment, praising their resilience. If anxiety persists after six weeks, seeking guidance from a psychologist is advisable.

Addressing back-to-school anxiety requires patience, understanding, and proactive steps from parents to ensure a smooth transition for their children. For more information, visit Bellavista School’s website.


This article was supplied by Karen Archer, educational psychologist and deputy principal at Bellavista School

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