BUFFALO, N.Y. — Back to school should be an exciting time for kids and parents, but what if your kids are really nervous to return to school?
Doctor Alton Bozeman with Menninger Clinic in Texas says there are three main reasons kids stress out before school starts.
First, there's social anxiety such as when kids feel bullied or are teased by peers.
"Were they laughing at you or were they laughing at something else," Bozeman asked. "Sometimes when children are very sensitive they may interpret things as being about them when it really didn't even involve them."
For this, parents should teach kids it may be normal joking or teasing. But if you think your child is being targeted, Bozeman says it's best for them not to react.
"Bullies might find it humorous and therefore be more encouraged to do it," Bozeman said. "Definitely not encouraging like a fighting back type nature where and more that doesn't impact me nature, I can ignore that type reaction."
If a child feels pressure to make the grade, they could experience performance anxiety. Instead, parents should stress the process.
"What that means is when your children are doing well in school, you want to focus on the process that allowed them to do well," Bozeman said. "Oh my gosh you must have studied so well, you always came home and you did your homework, you were very attentive in class and look it's showing up on your report card. More so than know you have straight A's."
If a child has more general anxiety, it may be tough to identify, but avoid questions like "are you anxious," and ask specifically "what worries you," to get better insight into their concerns.
If your child says their favorite part of school is sports, band, lunch, or recess, Bozeman says that's great. Parents should always emphasize school being fun, it will make them happier to go to school, and not stressing the academics to a point that kids dislike school.