Dealing with back to school anxiety

Posted at 12:00 AM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-05 23:37:24-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Back to school. Many parents may look forward to it but for some kids...not so much.

Even the thought of heading back to school can cause real problems for some students.

Being away from school for a few months may cause students back to school anxiety.

Doctors tell News 3 the biggest fears most students have revolve around academics and social situations.

Isabel Cuencis, who’s going into her senior year of high school, says she’s dealt with anxiety since eighth grade.

“I used to get bullied a lot, so it started at school and then eventually just kind of consumed every part of my life,” Cuencis said.

That’s what worries Karyz Williams about sending her son Isaiah to elementary school for the first time.

“I am concerned, really concerned,” Williams said.

She says Isaiah has already expressed anxiety about starting classes at his new school.

“I’m sure he’s still gonna have his panic attack with his crying and anxiety’s gonna be through the roof,” Williams described.

Psychologist Dr. Chevette Alston says some nervousness about starting the school year is perfectly normal.

“There’s different teachers, there’s different personalities, and there are different children in the classroom, according to academic levels or skills or clubs. There’s an opening of that person’s independence,” Dr. Alston explained.

But for some students, nervousness turns into serious anxiety. That’s when parents need to take notice.

“As far as anxiety, a lot of kids who don’t blend in – don’t want to go to school, their stomach hurts,” Dr. Alston said.

So what can you do to help ease your child back into school?

Doctor Alston encourages parents to talk with their kids about what they can expect, visit schools before the school year starts and try to help them feel more comfortable about a new school year.

“That fear of this period of adjustment,” the Doctor said.

It's advice that Williams is taking to heart with Isaiah.

Isabel is working through her anxiety, hoping this last year of high school will allow her to overcome her anxiety before heading off to college.

According to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, the top five back to school tips for parents and kids are sleep, safety, advanced planning, teamwork, and kindness.

Check out a breakdown of their tips here.


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