As the bell rings and a new school year begins, many parents find themselves navigating the waters of back-to-school anxiety with their kids. It's normal for kids to feel a mix of excitement and nerves as they get back into the routine of school.
Sometimes, though, the back-to-school season can bring about serious anxiety for your kids. Social anxiety, the influence of social media, and threats like bullying that they may encounter can all take a toll. As a parent, you play a crucial role in helping your kids when they’re feeling anxious about school and find comfort through their faith in Jesus. Here's how to help a child with anxiety about school:
How to help a child with anxiety about school
There are all kinds of things your kid might be nervous about with a new school year beginning, and each requires a different level of nuance as you address it together. Here are some common sources of back-to-school anxiety, some tips to tackle them, and encouraging Bible verses to center yourselves around:
The tears and clingy goodbyes on those first few mornings can tug at any parent's heartstrings. Remember that God's love is a constant presence even when you're apart. Encourage your child to start the school day with a prayer (or pray together!), seeking comfort in the knowledge that God is with them at school just like he is at home. Even though you can’t always be there with them, God promises that he will!
Passage to read together: "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Stepping into the unknown of a new school environment can be both confusing and daunting, stirring up a mix of feelings. However, in these moments of uncertainty, we can find comfort in God's guidance.
Just like when he led the Israelites through the unfamiliar wilderness and guided them to safety, God is with your kid as they navigate the uncharted territories of new classrooms, hallways, and friendships. With God as our compass, we can approach these unfamiliar areas with hope, knowing that his presence helps us find our way even when we’re confused or scared.
Passage to read together: "But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness." Psalm 78:52
The weight of the expectation to get good grades or load up on advanced classes can burden a kid’s mind. Help your child understand that their worth isn't solely determined by grades. Teach them to strive for excellence while trusting that God's plan for them extends beyond the classroom. Encourage a balance between hard work and self-compassion.
Passage to read together: "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Address the fear of bullying or teasing by reminding your kid where their self-worth comes from: their status as a child of God. Teach them to treat others with kindness and seek friends who uplift and respect them. Remind them that God's love protects them from hurtful words and actions.
Passage to be read together: "So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
God designed us for community, and he places people in our lives who can be sources of friendship and support. Encourage your kid to approach potential friendships with an open heart and a spirit of kindness, reflecting the love that God has for each of his children.
Jesus welcomed all and showed compassion to those around him - your child can reflect this attitude by reaching out, listening attentively, and showing genuine interest in others. Through prayer and God’s guidance, your child can create connections that will be a source of joy, strength, and love in their lives.
Passage to read together: "There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
In moments of uncertainty, remember that God gave us the Bible for guidance and comfort. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
As you navigate your child's back-to-school anxiety, rely on God's unwavering love and support. By praying together, talking openly about fears, and leaning on God's promises, you can help a child with anxiety about school.
Remember, you are not alone on this journey—God walks beside you every step of the way. There are also other people you and your child can turn to. Mental health professionals, school counselors, and even parenting Groups at LCBC can offer a listening ear and practical support. You can also check out these additional resources:
3 Steps to Help Your Kid Bounce Back From Failure
5 Tips for Praying With and For Your Kids
7 Ways to Lead Kids Through Big Changes
Or check out our Back to School Bible Reading Plan and follow it as a family!
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!