Back-to-School Anxiety: When To Seek Help For Your Child

Noah Warren
August 14, 2023

Going back to school can be a stressful experience for students of all ages. From navigating new classes and teachers to adjusting to a different routine, the start of a new school year can be overwhelming. While some anxiety and stress are entirely normal, it's essential to recognize when your child's anxiety may require additional support.

In this blog post, we will explore the causes and symptoms of back-to-school anxiety, when to be concerned, and when to seek help.

back to school anxiety

Causes of Back-to-School Anxiety

There are several reasons why children may experience anxiety around the start of the school year. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Fear of the unknown: Children may be anxious about starting a new grade, working with new teachers, or meeting new classmates.
  • Changes in routine: Summer vacation can be a time of relaxation and schedule flexibility. Returning to a structured routine can be challenging for some children, leading to anxiety.
  • Academic pressure: As children begin a new school year, they may experience pressure to perform academically, leading to anxiety about their grades and academic success.
  • Separation anxiety: Going back to school may require separating from parents and caregivers, leading to feelings of separation anxiety.

Common Symptoms of Back-to-School Anxiety

It's important to recognize the symptoms of back-to-school anxiety and differentiate them from typical back-to-school jitters. Some symptoms to note include:

  • Physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches, and fatigue
  • Emotional symptoms such as irritability, sadness, or anxiety
  • Behavioral symptoms such as avoidance, outbursts, or changes in sleep patterns

When to Be Concerned

While some anxiety is normal around back-to-school time, there are some instances where it may be necessary to seek additional support. If your child's anxiety significantly impacts their daily functioning or persists for an extended period, it may be time to consider seeking help. Some signs that warrant concern may include:

  • Severe physical symptoms such as vomiting, chest pains, or difficulty breathing
  • Disruptive behavioral symptoms such as aggression or refusal to attend school
  • Persistent emotional symptoms such as excessive worry or feelings of hopelessness

When to Seek Help

If you are concerned about your child's anxiety, it's important to seek help promptly. Mental health professionals, such as psychologists or licensed professional counselors, can provide a range of interventions to support your child's mental health and well-being. Evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be particularly effective in managing back-to-school anxiety.


Back-to-school anxiety is a common experience for children and adolescents, but it's essential to recognize when additional support may be necessary. While some anxiety is normal, it's vital to monitor your child's symptoms and seek help if necessary. By working with mental health professionals and creating a supportive home environment, parents can help children manage their back-to-school anxiety and thrive in the school setting.

Noah Warren
Director of Business Development