The end of the summer holidays and the start of the school year marks a fresh start as children get to share stories of their summer with friends and begin a new academic year. This is especially true after a long break due to Covid. But this can also be a time of anxiety for children as they return to school after months of little or limited socialising. Here are seven signs your child may be having anxiety when they return to school.
They Are More Clingy Than Normal
The moment children stop wanting to spend all their time with their parents and treat their hugs like the plague can be upsetting. But it’s also generally a sign that they’re growing up and learning to forge new bonds and relationships without you. However, if a formerly unclingy child seems to regress or starts to become increasingly clingy this can be a sign that something is wrong. It could be that the change from being at home to going to school has been difficult for them and so they are seeking comfort from you.
They Are Restless And Fidgety
Nervous energy has to go somewhere. Many anxieties can be reflected in the body. This can take the form of pacing or being unable to sit still like shaking their leg continually or biting their nails. If you notice your child suddenly becoming more restless and fidgety it could be a sign of they are anxious.
They Complain Of Stomach Aches
There are many physical signs of anxiety, this can be particularly true of children. One sign is if they start to complain of stomach pains before school regularly. This should not be taken as your child making something up just to get out of school. They may genuinely feel unwell but it could be caused by anxiety rather than a bug or virus. Though of course they should be checked for any underlying medical issues.
Changes In Sleeping And Eating Patterns
We have all been there. We’re going through a stressful time at work or with friends and we find ourselves struggling to sleep or we take comfort in extra food, sometimes we don’t feel like eating at all. Anxiety can often impact our daily habits and that’s no different in children. If you begin to notice your child struggling to sleep, or even sleeping far more than usual or any changes in their eating habits it might be that anxiety is playing a role.
Express Negative Thoughts Or Anger Quickly
Sometimes expressing negative thoughts or being angry is just a part of growing up. However, sudden bursts of anger or negative thoughts for no discernible reason can be a sign of stress. Going back to school after such a long break is a huge transition for children. They are experiencing something new and potentially exciting but also intimidating. Any kind of life change can be a source of anxiety and their expression of negative thoughts or anger may be their way of letting you know they are suffering from anxiety.
Unexplained crying and emotional outbursts can also be related to anxiety. Adults often ask children what’s wrong but unlike when they fall over or get hurt children may not be able to articulate or pinpoint exactly what is making them upset. This unexplained crying could be a sign they have anxiety.
They Struggle To Concentrate
Anxiety can impact our ability to concentrate on tasks. Children suffering from anxiety may have a hard time concentrating, appear to lose interest easily, or struggle to maintain attention to tasks like watching television or reading. These can all be signs of anxiety.
It can be hard to know if your children are anxious about being back at school especially as adults and children can express their anxiety in different ways, making it harder for parents to identify when their kids are suffering from anxiety. Hopefully, this article will help you notice any changes in your children’s behaviour that could be a sign of anxiety.
If you enjoyed this you might also like Back To School: What To Expect This September