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Calming Those Back-to-School Jitters
Child development expert offers advice on how to ease anxiety as classes start

By Robert Preidt

SUNDAY, Aug. 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Many children look forward to heading back to school, but an expert in child psychology notes that the new school year can cause anxiety for some kids.

The start of the school year may be especially stressful for some children in a transition year, such as going into kindergarten, into middle school or to a new school, according to Rachel Busman. She's a senior clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City.

Children can also become stressed due to a change in their social support system, such as if a good friend has moved away or if they have a new teacher.

"For most kids, the new-school-year worries will dissipate and the anxious behaviors will be temporary. The goal for their parents is to be supportive without amplifying their child's worries," Busman said in an institute news release.

However, she added, "Other kids have severe forms of anxiety that will require a more proactive approach."

If you think your child will be extremely nervous on the first day, visit the school several times before school starts. Help your child navigate the halls, and locate key areas: the child's classroom, bathrooms, the cafeteria and the playground, Busman suggested.

If you think your child will require extra support, ask your child's teacher, the school psychologist or the school nurse to watch your child for any signs they might need added help.

If needed, have someone from the school meet your child once you arrive at school. Ask them to engage your child in an activity that will take his or her mind off anxious feelings, Busman said.

It's also important for parents to control their own stress so they don't pass it on to their children, Busman noted.

"The most important thing a parent can do when kids resist going [to school] is to continue sending them to school anyway," she said. "This can be very difficult, but allowing children to avoid situations that make them anxious can inadvertently reinforce that those situations are indeed dangerous or scary."

More information

Learn what to do about "school refusal" from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

SOURCE: Child Mind Institute, news release, Aug. 8, 2017

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=725349

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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