Back-to-School Anxiety

It’s that time of year again. The back-to-school frenzy is upon us. Although a new school year is often an exciting time for families, the transition from home to the classroom can be a stressful time for both parents and children.

Here are some tips to help with this transition:

  • Before school starts, schedule fun activities with peers. Having a familiar face around when school starts will help your child adjust to his or her new classroom.
  • Start implementing a school-year routine a few weeks before the first day of school.
  • If possible, take a tour of the school during summer break. Have your child familiarize himself or herself with the classroom, playground, cafeteria, etc.
  • Listen to your child and validate his or her feelings. Let them know that it is normal to feel a little nervous before the first day of school.

Parents or caregivers may wish to consult with a mental health professional if a child’s symptoms of anxiety persist. Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • No longer participating in normal activities at home or at school
  • Increase in tantrums when a parent or caregiver attempts to drop off child at school
  • Increase in gastrointestinal issues
  • Reports of fatigue
  • Refusing to sleep alone

There are several ways to address anxiety in children, including therapeutic interventions, medication management or a combination of both.

UofL Health – Peace Hospital has different programs to help children and adolescents, including Crossroads, a partial hospitalization program. To learn more, call 502-451-3330.

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Lisa Prewitt

Lisa Prewitt, M.Ed., is the director of behavioral health outreach at UofL Health – Peace Hospital. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Louisville. Lisa has more than 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. She is also a licensed professional counseling associate and a certified Grief Recovery Method® specialist. Lisa has been with Peace Hospital since 2012.

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