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Managing Back to School Anxiety

The first day of school is right around the corner and while some kids and parents are excited, many families may be dealing with anxiety and anticipation for the upcoming year. Back to School Anxiety can impact kids and adults of all age and grade levels. Birmingham Maple Clinic therapist Carrie Krawiec appeared with Erin Nicole on WXYZ News 7 on My TV 20 to discuss the topic of anxiety at school at different age levels.Early education students from pre-school to elementary may experience symptoms of separation anxiety. While some separation anxiety is normal when you are away from a caregiver Separation Anxiety Disorder is a longer and stronger form. Parents can reduce the experience of anxiety for these kids by making them comfortable with their new surroundings and routines, visiting the school, building confidence and optimism by using encouraging words about your child and the school or teacher.For older middle school children anxiety may be geared toward fitting in and being accepted. Students may feel social anxiety and worry about they are judged or perceived by classmates. Parents can help these students replace unreasonable thoughts by replacing each critical or insecure comment with a minimum of 5 reasonable and positive alternatives. High school seniors and college freshman may feel anxiety that takes the shape of perfectionism, procrastination, and may fixate on worries about their future and the pressure they feel to succeed. At each age and stage Parents should watch and listen to what their children are saying and doing. Avoid asking too many questions. An abundance of questions make an anxious or shy kid feel more overwhelmed and may shut down more. Some things to look out for may be refusal to go to school, pretending to be sick, complaints about health issues, reports of bad dreams or trouble sleeping, a change in personality, avoidance of activities, feelings jittery or on edge. Parents should resist the urge to let their children stay home from school. This only makes anxiety grow as kids fall more behind socially and academically when they aren’t present daily. Parents can expect some anxiety at the start of school if the anxiety persists and gets more frequent or severe then parents should consider a referral to a therapist. If your child continues to express anxiety beyond what is reasonable then they may value from speaking to an individual or family therapist to help express and communicate feelings, learn techniques to emotionally regulate, and to create plans as a family as how to proceed. To schedule an appointment at Birmingham Maple Clinic call (248) 646-6659 or visit www.birminghammaple.com.