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Young girl clinging to her mother outside a school

Back-to-School Tips for Children with Anxiety

By Dr. J. Paige Frazer, Pediatric Specialists

Going back to school may be exciting for some kids, but if your child gets worried easily or has trouble paying attention or socializing, the transition can create anxiety. Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to make returning to the classroom go as smoothly as possible.

Here are some practical tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Mind Institute to ease your child’s transition:

Visit the School

  • Visit the school with your child before the first day of school. You may need to arrange an appointment with the school principal. During the visit, locate your child’s classroom, and look over the desk arrangement. Find the bathrooms, auditorium, nurse’s office, gym, playground, and library. If there’s more than one classroom, walk through the schedule of classes.

Get Organized

  • Figure out what types of organization work best for your child. Visit an office supply store to get the following areas set up and organized: school locker, backpack, and at home. Create folders for completed homework and what’s left to be completed and help your child figure out a system for tracking their work, such as placing completed homework in one side of a pocket notebook and unfinished work in the other.

Designate Areas in Your Home Specifically for School 

  • Set up an area in your home near the door with cubbies, shelves, baskets, and hooks. Designate different spots for books, homework, backpacks, keys, and lunch bags. A whiteboard can remind your child of tasks or upcoming events.

Keep Supplies Handy

  • Keep supplies on hand for those last-minute projects with items such as poster board, markers, loose-leaf paper, and presentation folders.

Consider a Tutor

  • If you feel your child might need help with homework, start looking for a tutor now. If you’re not sure where to look, ask the staff at your child’s school.

Discuss Schedules

  • Discuss daily, weekly, and monthly schedules with your child before school begins.


  • Role-play social situations if your child is shy or anxious when meeting new people. Some children have trouble filtering what they say, or they may interrupt. Others might not pick up on subtle cues or may misinterpret what people mean. Try recording a dinner conversation and go over what could help in making friends and talking with teachers.

Arrange a Playdate

  • If there’s a classmate you can arrange a play date with before school begins, that can help ease your child’s anxiety.

Validate Your Child's Feelings

  • Validate your child’s worry by acknowledging that transitions can be hard, but time usually helps smooth things out.

Help Develop Coping Mechanisms

  • Help your child develop some coping mechanisms to get through difficult moments, such as imagining talking with a friend or parent after school.

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About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.