Dreading Going Back to School

Going back to school can seem less than appealing for many kids after the long Christmas holiday break. Let’s face it, going back to the monotonous daily routine, and marching to the beat of a strict weekly timetable can be quite disheartening. With the beginning of a New Year, the excitement from Christmas and the freedom of the holidays slowly begin to fade into the distance. As set bedtimes and early starts approach, the thought of leisure time being replaced with homework, alongside the concept of a whole new set of teachers, new classes, new faces and sometimes even new schools – can be quite overwhelming!

Are your kids beginning to squirm when the topic of school is mentioned? As a parent, unfortunately there is no simple solution to resolve your child’s anxiety around going back to school, but here’s a few things you can do to help them feel more at ease.


  1. Talk with your child about why they are nervous about starting school again – Whether they feel anxious about struggling with their upcoming workload, having to participate in sport or other unappealing compulsory classes, or being bullied and having to fit in: knowing what is causing your child’s resentment to school will help you to help them combat what they are dreading most. Reminding kids of what they enjoyed in previous years at school, and what new challenges and experiences they have to look forward to in the year ahead can also be helpful.
  2. Gradually begin to install set bed times and daily structure in the lead up to when school resumes, so that the daily school routine becomes less of a shock to them and is more easily managed when the dreaded date arrives.
  1. Take a visit to the school with your child before school goes back for the year to familiarise them with the grounds, so that on the day it doesn’t seem like such a foreign place – particularly if they are starting a new school.
  1. Make contact with your child’s teachers, especially in primary school years. Touching base with your child’s teachers will help to establish a good parent-teacher relationship and will demonstrate your involvement in their studies: inviting open communication and feedback on their progress for the duration of the year.
  1. Incorporate group sports and hobbies into their weekly schedule. Whether it’s before or after school, structuring in extracurricular activities gives kids something to look forward to during the week, and an interest aside from schoolwork. Apart from the numerous health benefits physical exercise has to offer, being part of a team has also been proven to improve overall wellbeing, a sense of belonging, pro-social behaviour, and satisfaction with life.
  1. Be organised! Before school resumes try to arrange for all scholastic materials (such as books, pencils, uniforms) to be ordered, picked up, labelled and packed ready to go for the big day. It is also helpful to plan and prepare uniforms and lunches ahead of time, and to get your kids involved in making (or helping to make) their school lunches the night before so that mornings are not as much of a mad rush.


Dealing with the back-to-school blues? Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/school-rush.aspx

Back to school tips. Retrieved from http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx

Carlson, B.D. (2013). Sports Message Boarding: Association with Sports Team Identification and Social Well-Being. Electronic

Theses & Dissertations (856).

How does exercise impact wellbeing? (2013, September 6). TheSportInMind. Retrieved from http://www.thesportinmind.com/articles/how-does-exercise-impact-well-being/

Recommended therapist at Anxiety House

Monique Holmes

Monique Holmes

Monique is a psychologist who completed a PhD focused on understanding why children and adolescents worry and developed a specific program for children and adolescents suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder. She mainly works with children and adolescents and has a special interest in anxiety disorders, phobias and OCD. She will be working Monday and Wednesday.

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