Back to school jitters or anxiety?

By: Britni McDonald Email
By: Britni McDonald Email

Posted August 13, 2013--- 5:30 p.m.

Many kids heading back to school have jitters, but others have anxiety. There are warning signs and ways to make the transition smoother for your child.

"I'm excited but yet I'm nervous."

Most kids are like 9-year-old Brady Sailing, facing back to school jitters

"It's pretty normal to get anxious and nervous around the start of the school year," said child life specialist, Kat Davis.

"[I'm worried about] math mostly because last year I wasn't very good with math," said Sailing.

But for some, these jitters go beyond facing their next math test.

"What kids were worried about they're worried about again or a whole different set of worries," said Davis.

The transitional period with a change in routine, teachers, classes, and schools can cause anxiety.

"It's a huge shift in kids schedules," said Davis.

Along with transitional fears, Davis says anxiety is usually linked to separation, academic pressure, or certain social situations.

"There is a friend that haven't been hanging out with at all over the summer. I'm kinda worried about that," said Sailing.

"Kids tend to be over-scheduled. There are a lot of pressure on kids," said Davis.

Jitters wear off, but anxiety is ongoing. Davis says there are behaviors to identify.

"A change in sleep patterns, eating patterns, expressing intense fear or prolonged fear about something, chronic tummy aches, and kids not acting like themselves for long periods of time."

Davis says starting to transition your kids' routine now is important-- getting them up earlier, visiting the school in advance, but also talking about changes and asking them about their fears.

"Don't tell your child not to worry," said Davis. "Children need to be validated."

"They do need to face it, but they need help and support to face that."

If you think your child has anxiety, speak with a doctor.

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