Back to school anxiety

18 Aug

For most children going back to school after the long school holidays is a time of excitement. A time to reconnect with their friends and teachers and begin learning again.

But unfortunately for others it can be a time of anxiety and dread; especially if it’s their first ever day of school or if they are having trouble with their peers.

The last couple of weeks of the holidays can start to manifest symptoms in children who are getting worried about the return to school.

These are some of the more common signs to look out for in your child:

  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Unable to get to sleep or waking with bad dreams.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Mood changes e.g. getting irritable or angry.
  • Worrying with negative thoughts.
  • Feeling tense, fidgeting.
  • ,Using the toilet more often or bed-wetting.
  • Crying more than usual.
  • Being clingy.
  • Complaining of tummy aches and feeling unwell.

Anxiety can become a problem when it starts to get in the way of their everyday life and/or impact on the lives of those around them.

Helpful tips –

  • Talk to your child about the signs and symptoms of anxiety and to ask for help when it strikes.
  • Children prefer routines and find them reassuring, so try to stick to regular daily routines where possible.
  • Books or films can help a child understand their feelings.
  • Talking to them about what is going to happen and why. This will go a long way to easing their anxiety.
  • Try not to become anxious yourself or overprotective – rather than doing things for your child or helping them to avoid anxiety-provoking situations, encourage your child to find ways to manage them.
  • Practice simple relaxation techniques with your child, such as taking three deep, slow breaths, breathing in for a count of three and out for three. There are many relaxation meditations available for children; Youtube is a good place to start. Search “guided meditations for children – do listen to them yourself first to check they are appropriate for your child.
  • Distraction can be helpful for young children. For example, if they are anxious about going to nursery, play games on the way there, such as seeing who can spot the most blue cars.
  • Turn an old tissue box or jar into a “worry” box/jar. Decorate it. Get your child to write down or draw their worries and post them into the box. Then you can sort through the box together at the end of the day or week.

If none of the above help to calm your child, then a homeopathic remedy can save the day. There are many remedies that can be used to ease anxiety and worry in children.

Here’s a brief outline of a case I took recently – Otis, aged 8 (written with mum’s permission and name has been changed.)

When I saw Otis at the beginning of the summer holidays, he said that he “didn’t want to go back to his school.” He was being bullied and singled out by one particular boy and this was leaving him feeling lonely and isolated and causing him problems in school and at home.

He was particularly troubled at bedtime and during the night. Otis was taking a long time to settle into sleep as he was thinking about what was happening to him during school. When he eventually got off to sleep, he would wake frequently with bad dreams and then find it difficult to get back to sleep again. He’d often go into his mum’s bedroom crying. Mum also reported that he was sleep talking.

Physically Otis is very healthy but did suffer from a sensitive tongue. So things like toothpaste, lemons etc would cause his tongue to burn.

Otis is a sensitive and affectionate young boy who is very loving and caring; I took this into consideration when choosing a remedy to suit his particular symptoms.

Quick follow up 3 weeks later – 

Otis is doing really well. Mum says –

He’s been brilliant and has got his sense of humour back.

He is now going to sleep easily and is sleeping through the night, no longer having any bad dreams.

He is not concerned about going back to school and is generally feeling a lot better in himself –

“I’m feeling happy with going back to school now.”

His sensitive tongue has also improved, and Otis can now tolerate toothpastes that he couldn’t before taking his remedy.

No more remedies needed at this stage.

This is a fantastic result and both mum and Otis are really pleased and happy, as am I!

From Mum –

“After a distressing time watching my gentle, happy, affectionate son withdraw into himself, after months of being bullied in school. I contacted Lesley who has treated my son in the past with other issues. Initially he was reluctant to open up about his feelings, but quickly was made to feel comfortable and ended up actually enjoying his session. Since having his remedy, I have my happy relaxed little boy back! The change was practically over night. He is no longer suffering with insomnia or night terrors, and is actually looking forward to going back to school. Although the remedy cannot remove the chance of him facing the same problems when he returns to school, I feel Lesley has restored his gentle confidence in himself. He is now much more emotionally equipped to deal with any issues, and speak up about what is troubling him so it can be dealt with promptly, instead of troubling him at night. Thank you very much, we will be back to see you.”

Homeopathy is individualised, so each prescription is tailored to the particular symptoms and personality of the patient.

If you’d like a free 15-minute chat to discuss how homeopathy can improve life for you or your children, please book a slot here.