Baby Hints & Tips

Dealing With Anxiety Starting School

anxiety starting schoolHeading off to ‘big school’ can be a very exciting time for children and parents alike.

However, it can also be very daunting. New rules, a new environment, new people, new expectations, and so much more ‘new’ we can sometimes forget just how much is really happening and how our children may feel a little anxious about it all.

Children often feel a bit anxious bit once there, but a few minutes in, they forget their worries and are able to immerse themselves in all that school has to offer and any anxious feelings completely dissipate.

But if your child refuses to go to school, complains of feeling sick, is tearful more than usual or has separation issues over a period of time can all be signs indicating anxiety.

Here are a few tips which may help alleviate some of the anxiety but if it continues it is best to seek professional help.


Role Playing

Preparation is so often the key to dealing with anxiety. By role playing a few situations which would occur at school such as learning to line up, being able to open their lunch box, ensuring they know what to eat and when, practice asking to go to the bathroom and what to do if another child starts to tease are all great to have a little practise at so that there aren’t too many major surprises.

Keep Talking

It is important to ensure your child feels as though they can talk to you about whatever situations they may find themselves in. Ask open ended questions, but don’t grill them as soon as their day is over. Sometimes kids prefer to have some down time and then feel more comfortable a bit later on in the day to talk about things that have happened during the day. Just ensure your child knows that they can talk to you about how they feel about what is happening and that their feelings are important.

Read To Them

Reading some picture books about starting school and going shopping to choose a special bag and lunch box can start to build the excitement. By bringing positive stories to the forefront of their minds, they may start to feel less anxious and look forward to the new experiences they are about to undertake.

Ask For Help

Your child won’t be the first one to have ever felt anxious about different aspects of their schooling and certainly won’t be the last. If you are having trouble, ask the teacher or senior staff, the school nurse or counsellor if there is one, or your GP for help. There are many ways in which they can help, and many programs which can provide the guidance that you need.

Keep Informed

Keep informed about what is happening at school by reading the newsletters or checking out the school’s website regularly. This will allow you to talk to your child about upcoming activities and events at school and allows  them to talk about what is happening and ask any questions. By giving them the information, it allows them to start preparing mentally for the different activities and they won’t feel surprised or overwhelmed by new activities.

Don’t Give Up

Children need to attend regularly in order to have the opportunity to form the relationships necessary to help them overcome their separation anxiety. While it might seem easier to keep them home on occasion, this may also extend the amount of time a child takes to settle into the new environment.


For more information, check out the Kids Matter website and also speak to your school staff and GP.

Share your tips in the comments below for minimising and managing anxiety when kids start school

About the Author:

Lisa Evans is a Mum of two and has been involved in the education industry for over 20 years. She is passionate that every child has the right to a good education and that some of the best teachers are parents. She also wishes there was 30 hours in every day!

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