Settling back into a normal school routine can trigger anxiety for both parents and their children. Whether your kids are preparing for kindergarten or beginning their first fall semester at college, their transition from summer vacation to hour-long classes takes time to adjust, no matter what age they are.
Though each school year promises new adventures of making friends and learning complex subjects, your child may start to feel anxious about the unknown journey ahead, and you, yourself, may also feel stressed or worried about whether your kids will feel comfortable and confident in their new surroundings.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal human response to changes in our environment and routine: “[It] comes and goes, and our body’s stress response adjusts accordingly, recalibrating itself when it needs to, in order to get back to a functional way of interacting with the world” (Psychology Today). Anxiety becomes a serious mental health issue when its excessive and lingers for longer periods of time, affecting our ability to cope and respond to situations. For example, your child may start to feel anxious about making friends at a new school or keeping pace with the rest of his or her classmates. And even after receiving reassurance from you, your child may still feel fearful and begin displaying certain excessive behaviors, including
- Changes in their eating habits
- Frequent headaches and/or stomach pains
- Difficulty sleeping at night
- Constant tensing of muscles
- Self-doubt or low self-esteem
- A desire to distance himself/herself from peers or social groups
- Panic attacks
In addition to the type of anxiety your kids may experience as they head back to school, it’s also common for you or your spouse to feel stressed about your kids getting older or dread saying goodbye to them, as they leave for school.
Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are many types of anxiety disorders that both adults and children can experience, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (causes you to feel uneasy, irritable, unfocused, tense, or restless)
- Panic Disorder (causes you to feel out of control and can accelerate your heart rate)
- Various Phobia-Related Disorders (causes you to experience an irrational fear regarding a particular object or situation)
Related to the approaching school year ahead, anxiety can also include separation anxiety (which both parents and children can experience together or separately) and social anxiety. The most important thing to remember is that everyone experiences different levels of anxiety. When this happens, it’s essential that you find effective ways to cope with anxiety, so you never feel overwhelmed or like you’re spiraling out of control.
Finding Help For Your Anxiety
The new school year represents a transitional period and can often be a time for new beginnings. If your child or you are displaying excessive behaviors that are affecting your mental or physical health, contact the Calli Institute. You’ll discover many unique options for anxiety disorder treatment, including psychotherapy, relaxation exercises, diet and lifestyle changes, or medication management, depending on the type of anxiety you’re experiencing. Schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about your condition, and let Calli help you and your child feel empowered for the new year ahead!