School can be a great source of support, social interaction, and learning. However, there are many children who have a hard time in school for one reason or another, and they can experience anxiety related to their experience. Whether your child is going to school in person or is still learning remotely, they can have some mixed feelings about going to school.
It’s natural for your child to have some worries during their school life, like worrying about a big test, having a hard time with their friends, or even not liking certain subjects. If your child is experiencing a lot of anxieties and worries in school, you may need to intervene and help them with those problems.
Signs of School Anxiety
- Trouble focusing in school
- Expressing they’re feeling too much pressure
- Not feeling like they “fit in” or having trouble with friends
- Physical symptoms like stomach aches and headaches
- Feeling unsupported at school or at home
- Acting out in school or at home
- Refusing to go to school or get ready each day
- Not doing schoolwork or doing it poorly
- Withdrawing or going quiet
- Skipping classes or not going to school without you knowing
How You Can Help
The first thing you should do is talk to your child about their worries. Their anxiety is a signal that there is a problem, and you need to figure out what that is together in order to resolve it. As your child’s first and best advocate, you should also talk with their teacher to try and find out what may be going on at school. However, if they are having problems socially, their teacher may not be aware of those problems.
After discovering the problem, make a plan with your child to alleviate the stress. It’s important that you do this collaboratively with your child and their other caregivers so that you can all be part of the healing process. This plan can include learning coping strategies, seeing an age-appropriate therapist, or encouraging your child to write in a journal about their worries.
Enrolling your child in extracurricular activities may also be helpful. Having them join sports, dance, or even academic after-school enrichment programs can help them learn and collaborate in an environment outside of school. In a more “neutral” space, they can take a break from their stressors while still engaging socially and learning.
Wherever your child is struggling, it’s important that you validate their worries and hear them out when they communicate with you or their other caregivers. School can get stressful for any child, and sometimes those stresses can get overwhelming. If your child is having a hard time managing this stress, you can help them get through it successfully.1