• Call Now: 405.341.3554
  • Connect

Edmond Family Counseling Articles

Articles by the Counselors at Edmond Family Counseling

Fear of Back to School

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

By Sheila Stinnett, LPC

As the last few days of summer wind down, thousands of elementary children ready themselves for their return back to the classroom. During this count down to the big “first day”, back packs are filled with brand new supplies, new clothes and shoes are purchased and social media buzzes with the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting new ones. However, what is a parent to do if the thought of school for their child is not one of jubilant celebration, but one of intense dread, overwhelming panic or mind-numbing fear.

First, parents need to understand that their child is not alone. Research has shown that 2 to 5 percent of school age youth during any school year experience school anxiety or school refusal and it is most likely to occur in children ages 5 to 11. Often a child’s anxiety manifests itself in a barrage of somatic symptoms such as headaches and stomach pains which mysteriously occur on school mornings and disappear during the evening hours or on weekends.

A pro-active parent can often circumvent a child’s feelings of anxiety by using the following strategies: 

Establish that school is a priority. A child experiencing school anxiety or refusal should understand that an absence from school is only an option due to serious illness. Missing school only reinforces a child’s anxiety. Be sure to plan preventive medical appointments and family outings after school hours, during natural school breaks or on weekends. 

Establish a sense of familiarity. A child needs to feel school is a safe and secure place. This can be accomplished by introducing your student to their school. Find time to go play on the playground several nights the week before school starts. Access the school website with your child. See if together you can find pictures of key personal such as the principal or assistant principal and review them. Find out where drop off and pick up occurs. If your child rides the bus, go to the stop. Rehearsing a few basic school procedures will go a long way in fostering confidence when your child placed in the situation on the first day of school.

Establish an environment of excitement. Include your child as much as possible in all “back to school” preparations. Feelings of excitement are inherent activities that require planning. Let them pick out key school supplies such as backpacks or take them shopping for school shoes or clothes. Arrange play dates with possible school friends so relationships can be fostered, which gives your child peers they look forward to seeing. Organize a count-down activity, like creating a calendar and making a special time every day for the entire family to mark off a day.

Establish a consistent schedule. Work as a family to create a structured schedule for sleep, school and playtimes. If a child understands what is coming next, he or she is less likely to experience feelings of anxiety. Be sure to incorporate visual elements in schedules for younger children and post schedules where everyone has access, such as the front of the fridge. Often children experience anxiety due a fear of what will happen to a parent if they are not present, so make sure you include your activities on the family schedule. If children are aware of the location and activity of a parent, they are less likely to worry.

Establish a support system. Find friends and family that understand your child’s fears and that are willing work with both you and the child to alleviate them. Communicate with the school and let them know that your child needs extra support. Often by contacting school administration or the school counselor prior to the start of school, arrangements can be made for your child to tour the school and meet key personnel. Do not be afraid to discuss the situation with your pediatrician. If necessary a pediatrician can make recommendations to local mental health professionals that can assist both you and your child in conquering their fears.

Edmond Family Counseling’s mission is to make quality mental health care accessible to all. Please help support their work with your tax-deductible contribution. By mail: 1251 N. Broadway, Ste. C, Edmond, OK 73034 or online at edmondfamilycounseling.org. Like us on Facebook too!

Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


Help for panic and anxiety How common are panic attacks bucket list HK pen Great Depression Independent Living Schedule 1 Drug Food Allergies Cell Phones Holiday stress Parenting and Cell Phones Early Treatment of Depression self-sabotage Adult Children Summer time parenting Belinda Crosier Entitlement Syndrome Suicide Prevention for Teens Medical Use of Marijuana in Oklahoma Emotional Development Anxiety Political Correctness Discipline Teenage Development Supersurvivors What to do when you are laid off Personality Test spring GirlStrong ADA Suicide goals Time Management Confidentiality personal growth Role Models Decision-Making The Martian Book Detox Diet Teen Drug Use DIY Marriage counseling Oklahoma drug use Therapy Family Systems Theory Marriage counseling Helen Keller The Amazing Race Communicating with your child AARP Strong Willed Child Presidential debate Marriage Drugs Waxing Millenials high school Grandparent Initiative Drinking in high school What Really Matters College Transitions National Drug Threat Assessment Summary Instagram Butane Hask Oil Unemployment Positive Reinforcement Mild-Depression Disability David Feldman Parenting Teenagers Teens and cell phones Teenage Boys How to manage anxiety Jay Asher Choices fads Children James Dobson What is domestic violence Speaker Listener Technique Family Theory Sheila Stinnett Micro-aggression Prevention Edmond drug use Self-Esteem Links between unemployment and depression Movies for Teens Alcohol Addiction HB 2249 Disasters Drug Use Legalization of Marijuana Communication Character Development privilege College Age Children Fidget Spinners Depression Annie Sullivan Jackie Shaw Support Group Limitations of counseling Substance Abuse History Reading How to control panic attacks Parenting through Divorce Joshua and Rebecca Weigel Teen Jobs Chores for Teens Andy Weir Siblings in Conflict Positive Thinking Donald Miller Butane Honey Oil Captain of Your Ship Exercise treatment for depression Retirement Planning Boundaries Co-Parenting Class The Martian Movie Child Development Twenty Somethings Grounded Hope Sanjay Gupta Child Abuse Hanna Baker Tetra-Amelia Syndrome Anger list Social Media John Goetz Drug Abuse Edmond Municipal Court How to detect signs of depression Snapchat Bias Grandparenting Golden Child Spanking Learning Disabilites ADHD Political bias Grandparents as parents Setting Boundaries with Adult Children Disciplining Teens What Matters Most Program Apps for Teens Technology Mental Health Michael Jackson Teen Safety When Teens Should Get a Cell Phone How many sessions do I need Dr. Ben Carson Brain Research Teenagers Prom safety Young Adults non-verbal communication Communicating with your teen Divorce with minor children Positive Illusions How to talk to your kids about terrorism Microagression Americans with Disabilities Act Changing Problem Behavior 710 Death Gun violence and mental health Teen Parenting How to recognize domestic violence Impact of Suicide New year’s resolution Panic Goal Setting parenting college age kids Isolation in teens Normalcy Prescription Drugs Prom guidelines for teens Edmond Character Council Edmond Fear Retirement Oklahoma Department of Human Services College Dr. Rhonda Patrick Stress Risk taking Culture Sexual Abuse Funding Marijuana Wax School Anxiety Social anxiety Community Suicide Prevention Programs Divorce United States Drug Enforcement Agency Developmentally appropriate strategies for grief counseling How long should counseling take Facebook 13 Reasons Why Quinton Ellis Working Parents Amanda Percival Terrorism and children Suicide Prevention Recommendations Holidays Nutrition and stress Heroin in the Suburbs Dating Teenage perception of drug use The Butterfly Circus Depression and social media Divorce School Feldman and Kravetz Managing substance abuse Teen Suicide Conflict Bullying College Campus Affluenza Seniors Bias and memory Trauma Gender Roles Self Image Call of Duty Bong Eating Disorder Why did the system fail Newsletter Family Roles Domestic violence resources Communication techniques for couples Parenting Scapegoating Freshman Year Teens and Time Management Twitter 5 Love Languages World Health Organization How do children process trauma Heroin Crisis Learning Happiness Consequences Summer Chad McCoy Unemployment and depression Prom Peers Misconceptions of Smoking Marijuana Relationships Lee Daniel Kravetz Darcy McConnell Will counseling work quickly Mayme White Miller Al McCormick Ridley Scott Edmond Family Counseling The Miracle Worker Is therapy forever Organization Girl Strong Parkland Shooter Self Investment Panic Disorder Codependency gadgets Tumblr Parenting with purpose Setting Boundaries for Your Teen Co-Parenting Childhood depression Procrastination Negative Thinking Underage Drinking Panic attacks Aggregated News for Teens The Golden Years Back to School How prevalent is domestic violence Audrey Woods Summer Plans for Teens Opiods Elizabeth Loftus 13 Reasons Why NOT Enabling Adult Children Teens and Smartphones Oklahoma Statute on Marijuana Ben Carson Teens Use of Technology Parent peer pressure School Emotions


    Call Us Now!