Back to school anxiety – How can parents prepare kids as the time to go back to school gets closer?

A little girl sitting on her mother's lap while looking at a computer.

The new school year is usually an exciting time for kids and a time to celebrate for parents who have been keeping busy all summer long. A new grade and new adventures at school await. But this year, with children heading back to class in just a few short weeks, anticipation has been replaced by anxiety as a lot of kids are stressed about the idea of returning during COVID-19.

For most children, predictability can play a major part in being comfortable and feeling secure. As well, with children seeing the news, having spent months in lockdown and knowing that they’ll likely be wearing a mask all day, the pressure of the ‘unknown’ may be enormous.

“It is normal for kids to feel nervous about returning to school, especially if they have been learning from home for months,” said Dr. Margaux Brown, a leading counselor education expert and assistant professor in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation in the College of Education at Augusta University. “To help ease their anxiety, I encourage parents to reassure their children about the safety measures in place to keep them safe and remind them about the positives, such as being able to see their friends and teachers.”

Brown also recommends the following tactics parents can do at home to help ease the back-to-school anxiety.

Wear a mask at home: Wear one while playing a game, reading a book or having some screen time. Normalizing life in a mask may be the new normal.

Share how you feel: Parents who can share their feelings will likely prompt children to share their own. Let kids know that adults are nervous and are sometimes afraid too, and encourage young ones to open up and express any lingering or pent up emotions.

This coming school year will be like no other in memory, and as parents get kids ready to head back into the classrooms – there are still a lot of questions remaining.

If you’re a journalist covering this topic – then let our experts help.

Dr. Margaux Brown is a leading expert in counselor education, and her research focuses on underserved populations, school counseling and parents.

Brown is available to speak with media regarding this important subject. Call 706-522-3023 to arrange an interview today.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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