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Helping Children Navigate Anxiety as School Opens: A Guide for Parents

As a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, I understand the profound impact that anxiety can have on a child's well-being. With the new school started, many children and parents are experiencing a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

This article aims to shed light on children's anxiety, particularly when transitioning to a new school, such as starting secondary school.

We'll explore the causes of anxiety in these situations and provide strategies for parents to help children cope effectively.

Understanding Children's Anxiety

Causes of Anxiety

Children may experience anxiety when school reopens for various reasons:

  • Fear of the Unknown: The uncertainty of what to expect in a new environment can trigger anxiety.

  • Social Pressure: The need to make new friends and fit in can be overwhelming.

  • Academic Stress: The increased workload and higher expectations in secondary school can induce anxiety.

  • Separation Anxiety: Younger children may experience separation anxiety when moving from primary to secondary school.

  1. Recognising Anxiety Symptoms

It's crucial for parents to recognize anxiety symptoms in children. These can include:

  • Physical Symptoms: Stomach aches, headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue.

  • Emotional Signs: Irritability, excessive worry, and a fear of attending school.

  • Behavioural Changes: Avoidance of school-related topics, reluctance to go to school, and changes in sleep patterns.

Strategies to Help Children Cope

  1. Open Communication- Encourage children to express their feelings and concerns. Create a safe and non-judgmental space where they can talk about their fears. Listen actively and validate their emotions.

  2. Education and Preparation- Help children become familiar with their new school. Visit the school, meet teachers, and explore the campus if possible. Providing information can reduce anxiety about the unknown.

  3. Positive Reinforcement- Praise and reward children for their bravery and efforts in facing their fears. Positive reinforcement can boost their self-esteem and confidence.

  4. Relaxation Techniques- You can teach children relaxation and self-soothing techniques. Yoga and Mindfulness can be a powerful tools for managing anxiety in children.

  5. Establishing Routines- Consistent routines at home can provide children with a sense of stability. Ensure they get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, and have time for relaxation and play.

  6. Encourage Social Connection- Support your child in making new friends by arranging playdates or joining clubs or extracurricular activities.

  7. Professional Help- If a child's anxiety becomes severe and persistent, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or hypnotherapy can be effective in treating anxiety disorders.

The transition to a new school, especially when starting secondary school, can be a challenging time for children. Parents play crucial roles in helping them navigate this period with confidence and resilience. By understanding the causes of anxiety, recognizing its symptoms, and employing supportive strategies, we can empower children to face their fears, adapt to change, and thrive academically and socially.

As a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, I have the unique opportunity to offer specialized guidance to children struggling with anxiety. With my expertise, I can help them develop valuable coping skills and build the foundation for a successful and fulfilling educational journey. Together, we can make the school opening experience a positive and transformative one for every child.


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