Calming Back-to-School Anxiety

“Mom, don’t freak out, but I’m leaving you in 36 days.”

Yes, those were the exact words spoken to me by my five-year-old, soon-to-be kindergartener this morning. The countdown has been on for him since his older brothers had their last day of school. While he is clearly ready to fly the coop, this mama might be going against his wishes and freaking out just a bit.

To add to the back-to-school anxiety around here, we also have a son starting middle school. There is no way I am old enough to have a middle schooler, but here we are. Everybody (except me) seems to be all cool, calm, and collected about the new school year arriving soon, but I know as the first day approaches, lots of feelings will arise along with big changes.

Your child might be like my youngest, or he may be the complete opposite: a nervous wreck about the coming school year. Both types of children need us parents on their side to help them face and process the many emotions that arise with school’s return. Here are some ways to address their worries and questions.

Talk about it

Our fears are always so much worse when they stay inside our heads. Open communication is one of the main keys to helping our children get through the anxiety because it lets them know they aren’t alone. To break the ice, we can share about our own school-related worries from childhood and how we dealt with them. It’s important to make sure they know we are always available to talk about the things that trouble them.

Plan for it

After we talk about the causes of back-to-school anxiety, we can make a plan with them about how to handle the situations and feelings when they arise. We can find a Bible verse to help them remember the truth when fear creeps in and write it on a notecard to keep in their backpacks. I love to plan a favorite breakfast and relaxing after-school activity on the day of a test or stressful event. For our younger children, reading a book such as God Bless My School regularly could help them think of school in a positive light. I love the sweet rhymes and eager anticipation of school’s arrival throughout the book, as well as the reminders that God goes with each child as they head to school. Preschoolers and kindergarteners will find it delightful and encouraging!

Pray about it

Let’s pray with our children every time we talk about school-related anxiety. We can pray for our children every day as they head to school. It’s so important that we help our children learn to pray throughout their day when stress or worry threatens to take over. We can talk and plan and read, but I want my children to know their is great power in prayer!

This time of year, I know there will be lots of emotions as we prepare for back-to-school . I am thankful we can talk, plan, and pray as a family to walk through it and have another wonderful school year!

Your Turn

What is the back-to-school atmosphere like this year for you and your children or grandchildren? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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