WINNIPEG – More than 180,000 Manitoba kids go back to school this week – most today.
While some are excited, it’s a harder day for others. Psychologist Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman says studies show about one in eight kids going back experience anxiety.
“It’s predominantly the case with kids who have generalized or social anxiety because returning to school will have them deal with situations that are uncertain or in social circumstance or situations where there’s evaluation,” he said.
He says to watch for physical symptoms as warning signs, because they won’t know how to express it with words.
“With younger children, they’re not always going to be articulating feelings or thoughts, but they would be articulating discomfort or sometimes physical symptoms. It’s not uncommon for kids to say they’re feeling physically unwell when they have to go back to school,” he said.
Abdulrehman says if your child is anxious, get some help from a clinical psychologist.
“Cognitive behaviour therapy is a very simple and effective treatment that can work very well and it offers the child the skills that they need to cope with things down the road,” he said.
And gradually help them face their fears.
“I strongly encourage parents to not let children avoid long periods of school. A little bit here and there can be very normal, but if that child is avoiding school for long periods of time, it can be very hard to get that child back to school,” he said.
Abdulrehman says it helps to start early in the summer by keeping your kids busy and active.
“Typically what happens with anxiety is adults and children alike would want to avoid things that make them anxious, so naturally in the summer time, there is no exposure to things that make them anxious, so they feel better. But they’re not building up the resiliency that they need when they go back to school,” he said.
Find more information on back-to-school anxiety here: