Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Signs Your Child Has School Anxiety

How to Know if Your Child is Struggling With School Anxiety

It’s back to school season, and that means it’s also school anxiety season. But, how can you know if your child is struggling with school anxiety? What is a normal amount of anxiety about school, anyway? And how can you support your child through this anxiety, especially if they refuse to attend?

Today, you will learn all about school anxiety. You’ll learn the signs that your child might be struggling this school year. Then, you will learn what you can do about it. 

school anxietyUnderstanding Anxiety 

Maybe you have noticed that your child’s behavior changes dramatically as the new school year approaches. Maybe it seems like the drama of the mornings before school has gotten more intense since the first day of school. Or perhaps your new kindergartener cries during drop off for two weeks in a row. Are these instances school anxiety? How can you know? (Related article: Worry Vs. Anxiety- What is the Difference?).

As always, there isn’t really a way to know for sure without help from a mental health professional. But, there are some signs and behaviors you can watch for this school year that might indicate that your child is struggling more than usual and may be dealing with school related anxiety. Let’s talk about it. 

Running Late

Does your morning routine before school seem like pulling teeth? Does your child end up tardy over and over again? The before-school fights can be exhausting and discouraging for both you and your child. As a parent, it can be hard to know how you can help.

It’s normal to have occasional hard mornings. And it’s normal to run late sometimes. However, if you have noticed that this pattern seems to persist for weeks on end or gets worse as time goes on, your child might be experiencing school related anxiety. It’s not uncommon for kids who struggle with school anxiety to avoid leaving the house on school days. (Source)

Recurring Absences

Maybe getting to school on time is not a struggle, but sick days are a regular occurrence at your house. Your child might always be mysteriously sick with various illnesses… all of which involve staying home from school. You may begin to notice that these illnesses only seem to happen on weekdays and around your child’s school schedule. 

It is not uncommon for children who experience school anxiety to insist on missing school regularly due to feeling sick. School anxiety may cause your child physical stress that can become headaches, stomach aches, and more. (Source). It’s an added bonus that these ailments also allow your child to miss school. 

Constant Nerves

Maybe your child doesn’t try to hide their school anxiety at all! They might tell you regularly that they feel nervous, scared, and overwhelmed. Plus, they might not know where to begin when it comes to managing those feelings. And you might be stumped too! Overwhelming negative feelings about school may be a sign of school anxiety as well. 

Now What?

So, you’ve determined that your child is experiencing potential school anxiety. Now what? How can you help? What are the next steps?

Stay Connected

school anxiety

One of the best ways to help with your child’s school anxiety is to make an effort to stay involved. Be there to listen. Learn about their classes, their friends, and potential issues that might be fueling their anxiety surrounding school. 

Sometimes just understanding their school day can help you spot any potential sources of fear and anxiety. And taking the time to know your child’s typical school day can help you empathize and to show them you are here to support, even when things are tough. 

Reach Out

Confronting school anxiety can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to confront it alone. Therapy can help you, your child, and your family learn valuable coping skills. Therapy techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can give your child the tools they need to not only survive but thrive in school and beyond. 

Start Therapy

Ready to get started? We can help. Schedule an appointment with a therapist in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.

Written By Lauren Adkins

Lauren Adkins

Writer for the Center for Couples and Families


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