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Parenting Tips for School related anxiety

The summer holidays are here!

A breather from the school runs, no planning ahead for the school uniform wash and pack lunches.

Children with backpacks jumping in the air outside, celebrate the first day of school holidays.

Whilst the break is an opportunity to recharge, I have so many parents ask me whether there is anything they can do to prepare their child for the return to school.

During the summer you are in a perfect position to support your child in preparing for the next academic year. Firstly, it can be beneficial to keep conversations and thoughts going about the return to school.

Here are some more tips to help ensure a smooth and positive experience:

  • Open communication: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and concerns regarding school. Create a safe and non-judgmental space for them to express their emotions.

  • Establish routines: Routines provide a sense of stability and can reduce stress and uncertainty.

  • Practice separation: If your child is anxious about being away from you, gradually introduce short periods of separation before the first day of school. Start with brief separations and gradually increase the time as they become more comfortable.

  • Plan ahead: Days and weeks can seem like an age for younger children, and going back to school may feel like forever. To remind them that school is only for part of the week you can begin to plan ahead some things to do at weekends, evenings and for the next school holiday so that they have something to look forward to.

  • Positive reinforcement: Praise and encourage your child for their accomplishments, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their self-esteem and confidence.

  • Encourage socialisation: Help your child develop social skills by arranging playdates with other children. This can help them build friendships and feel more at ease in a new social setting.

  • Be empathetic: Validate and normalise your child's feelings, let them know that it is okay to feel nervous or unsure. Offer reassurance and support without minimizing or dismissing their emotions. Noticing and putting into words what they may be feeling can also help them identify and label emotions.

  • Manage your emotions: As a parent or caregiver, your emotions can influence your child's experience. Check in with yourself how you are feeling about the situation. Taking a balanced and calm approach allows you to both explore the worry and problem solve it creatively together.

  • Wellbeing: Teach them some simple breathing exercises and grounding techniques to use at school if they feel anxious during the day.

  • Monitor signs of stress: Keep an eye out for any signs of stress or emotional distress in your child. Look out for lots of worry thoughts, tantrums, tummy aches, nightmares, racing heart or butterflies in their tummy. If you notice any significant changes in behaviour or mood, talk to them and consider seeking support.

Remember that every child is unique, and the adjustment period may vary. Be patient and supportive as your child navigates this new chapter in their life. With time and understanding, most children adapt well to school life and flourish in their new environment.

How to get in touch:

I work directly with parents supporting them in their parenting role if they, or their child is experiencing overwhelming anxiety. If you would like support in any of the steps mentioned above, or just to know more about parent-led Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, then you can either fill out the contact form on my homepage or email me at

Image by LeManna from Istock photos

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