First Day of School: Tips for Kids and Teens with Anxiety

The first day back to school can be a whirlwind of emotions for kids and teens, especially those grappling with anxiety. From new teachers to unfamiliar hallways, the challenges may seem daunting. However, with the right coping strategies, this day can become a stepping stone towards growth and success. In this guide, we’ll delve into practical techniques tailored to young individuals that can help alleviate anxiety and pave the way for a positive school experience. Additionally, we’ll touch upon the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ youth dealing with anxiety and how support and understanding can make a significant difference.

Understanding School Anxiety 
Anxiety in the school environment is a common response to change and the unknown. Kids and teens may worry about making friends, academic performance, or fitting in. It’s crucial to acknowledge that these feelings are valid and manageable.

Coping Tips for a Successful First Day

1. Familiarize Yourself

If possible, visit the school before the first day. Walk through the classrooms, find your locker, and locate your classes. Familiarity can reduce the sense of the unknown.

2. Talk About It

Encourage open conversations about fears and worries. Sharing feelings with parents, guardians, or friends can provide reassurance.

3. Practice the Routine

Re-establishing a school routine a few days before can help ease the transition. Wake up and sleep times, meals, and study schedules should mirror the school day.

4. Positive Self-Talk

Teach kids to challenge negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind them of past accomplishments and their ability to overcome challenges.

5. Buddy System

Connecting with a friend, especially if they’re experiencing similar feelings, can provide a sense of camaraderie and support.

6. Break Tasks Down

Help kids break the day into manageable steps. Focusing on one class or activity at a time can reduce overwhelm.

7. Relaxation Techniques

Teach deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or even using fidget toys to manage anxious moments.

8. Mindfulness

Introduce mindfulness techniques like focusing on the present moment or using sensory objects to stay grounded.

9. Supportive Teachers

Encourage kids to reach out to teachers if they’re feeling anxious. Many educators are understanding and can provide additional guidance.

10. Seek Professional Help

If anxiety persists or intensifies, consider involving a mental health professional. Therapy can equip young individuals with valuable coping tools.

Unique Experiences of LGBTQIA+ Youth 
For LGBTQIA+ kids and teens dealing with anxiety, the first day back can hold added stress due to potential concerns about acceptance and inclusion. Supportive environments, allies, and resources that promote understanding and inclusivity play a crucial role in creating a safe space for these individuals to express themselves and navigate their school journey with confidence.

By equipping kids and teens with anxiety with practical coping techniques and fostering an inclusive atmosphere, the first day back to school can become an opportunity for growth, learning, and empowerment. Together, we can help young individuals overcome anxiety, embrace new experiences, and embark on a fulfilling academic journey.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741