Anxiety can manifest in various ways, including physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches. Your clients may notice changes in their children’s behavior a few weeks into the school year, such as increased agitation, resistance, or heightened separation anxiety. Some children might focus on the negatives of school. Regardless of how their children approach the school year, as mental health professionals, we can offer valuable strategies to help them manage their emotions.

These 7 strategies can help your clients support their children’s well-being and promote their academic success.

  1. Active Listening and Validation: The initial step in addressing school anxiety is active listening to your client’s children’s concerns. Encourage your clients to validate their children’s feelings and fears without immediately trying to solve the situation. Express empathy and understanding to create a supportive environment where the child feels safe sharing their emotions.
  2. Collaborative Problem Solving: Encourage your clients to work collaboratively with their children to identify specific anxiety triggers and find solutions. Involving the child in problem-solving empowers them to feel more independent and confident in handling challenges, building essential skills for their success in school and life
  3. Establishing Routines: Suggest that your clients guide their children into a school routine. This includes adjusting to early mornings and consistent evening schedules. For anxious children, practice the school routine in detail, potentially even visiting the school and discussing drop-off scenarios. Remind them of past positive experiences to provide reassurance.
  4. Encouraging Choices and Fun: Empower your clients to enable their children to make choices related to school. Let them choose their outfits or favorite accessories if there’s a uniform. Encourage your clients to plan special meals and consider positive reinforcements for overcoming jitters, such as taking them to their favorite ice cream shop or a fun weekend activity.
  5. Building Confidence: Guide your clients in helping their children focus on their positive traits and strengths. Encourage them to articulate their abilities, whether they’re a great friend, a flexible problem solver, or a strong and fearless individual. Reinforcing these qualities can help children feel secure in an unpredictable world.
  6. Addressing Parental Anxiety: Highlight the importance of parents managing their own anxiety, especially concerning their children’s worries. Suggest that your clients demonstrate confidence and offer support. If your clients have concerns, advise them to address these privately to maintain a positive outlook for their children.
  7. Professional Support: Emphasize that if their children’s anxiety becomes overwhelming or interferes with their daily lives, seeking professional counseling is a beneficial option. Many experts are available to provide support and help children develop effective anxiety management skills. Encourage your clients to collaborate with their children’s schools to identify potential support systems and create accommodation plans if necessary.
As the school year is underway, mental health professionals can play a pivotal role in effectively addressing and managing school anxiety. By implementing these strategies, they can empower their clients, support their children’s well-being, and promote their academic success. Remind your clients that seeking professional help when needed is a proactive step in ensuring their children’s continued growth and happiness.

Empowering Your Clients to Navigate School Anxiety