Managing back-to-school anxiety for kids

Back to school time comes with it’s own set of challenges for kids, especially now with it being the first ‘normal’ school year for many since the pandemic started.
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Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Back-to-school time comes with its own set of challenges for kids, especially now with it being the first ‘normal’ school year for many since the pandemic started.

Noticing signs like a behavior change should prompt you to check in on your kids this school year. They could be suffering from anxiety from returning to the classroom.

“A whole new world” that’s how Phenix City Schools’ parent, Kristen Ramsey, describes sending her second grader back to the classroom. For many school districts, it’s the first time they are approaching school with a sense of normalcy in over two years.

“This is our first year going into the room where our kids are going to be eating lunch at.”, said Ramsey. “It was weird for kindergarten because you’re introducing your baby to a whole new world that you’re not even used to. It’s very exciting for us to just kind of get in the groove of normal and what we kind of had as kids for our kids. This is what we expected to be introducing our kids to.”

She said it’s also the first time her child will be in a classroom setting. His kindergarten experience was far from typical, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s created a bit of anxiety for Ramsey and her family. It’s a feeling that resonates with many kids and parents who share the same experience.

“New school, new start time, new routine.”, said one Parent from Muscogee County School District.

Mary Flores, a Smith Station parent, said, ”Yeah, he’s more nervous. He hasn’t been around too many kids,” when asked about her son.

Harris County parent Ruth Saiya said, “I walked her in on Friday, and she was like, mommy you can go now. I’m good.”

Pastoral Institute Resident Counselor, Ebony Young, said ways to help your kids cope with anxiety are by talking with them when you notice a change in their behavior or by creating a consistent routine for them to follow.

“The anxiety for children is much like that of adults. The kind of anxiety that comes with the unexpected. This is the first time that children have been back in the classroom many of them without a virtual option since pre-pandemic.”, said Young. ”I think for kids it might be just kind of any desire to not participate or not to go. Little people are usually very expressive when they feel safe, so try to create that safe space for your child or a child in your community to try to come to you, and I think that’s one of the best things we can do for each other.“

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