Written By Dr. Marjory Phillips
As the kids head back to school, some parents may notice anxiety persisting in their children even after the school year begins. Here are some tips to help parents to support children at school and home to lessen their anxiety:
- Encourage them to have some control or choice in back-to-school planning and settling in.
- Kids can get and organize school supplies and select their lunches or lunch bag/box.
- Parents can also work with school leadership and staff as a team to plan for school success.
- Many schools have programs or a process in place to support children and youth with higher anxiety levels.
- Share your knowledge of your child's learning needs -- ask to meet with school staff to advise of your child's strengths and their worries, plus any additional learning difficulties, if not already known to the teacher.
Research into anxiety disorders suggests that some start fairly early and can make a child vulnerable to developing other psychiatric problems, and if untreated, can persist into adulthood. Know the signs to look for if your child is struggling with anxiety.
If you need further support, consult your family doctor or visit a CMHO child and youth mental health centre near you. There are walk-in clinics available across the province, no charge, no OHIP card needed and no referrals required.
Dr. Marjory Phillips is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment at the University of Waterloo.