While going to back to school can be both exciting and slightly anxiety provoking for the average child, for some children already prone to anxiety, including those children who have had negative experiences such as bullying, academic problems, or social isolation in the past, this time of year can be extremely stressful and difficult.
You might notice your child:
*Experiencing increased somatic symptoms: headaches, tummy aches, fatigue, etc., in the absence of an actual diagnosed illness.
*Continually seeking reassurance about everything from their class, their schedules, their peers, their homework, their appearance, and more, or they might regress and become more clingy than they had been in a long time.
*Problems with falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking refreshed in the morning.
*Avoidance of school related activities, peers, homework, discussion related to school, or avoidance of school altogether in extreme cases.
Some first steps to approaching the anxious child include:
*Ensuring enough consistent rest and consistency in routines
*Willingness to address child’s worries and emotions openly without making judgements or denying the child’s concerns, and instead, engaging them in creative problem solving to address their worries.
Sometimes, when these approaches are not enough, consultation with a professional may be necessary. Art Psychotherapy is a fun, pleasant way for a child to express themselves and gain some relief, learn to understand and manage their emotions, increase their self esteem, and experience social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Contact Alisa at Creative Arts Psychotherapy of Westwood to learn more.