Going Back To School Could Cause Anxiety For Kids

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For some kids, and parents as well, the start of a new school year can cause anxiety.

Some anxiety is normal on the first couple of days of school but experts say there is a point that parents should become concerned with their children’s level of anxiety.

“If they are feeling worry, it is coming from a genuine place. It’s important not to minimize those kinds of feelings but rather to express empathy and understanding,” said Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May, Director of Child and Adolescent Mood and Anxiety Treatment program at University of Miami.

Experts in early education say most children don’t have clinical problems. They experience separation anxiety, social anxiety and sometimes just worry.

Parents should pay attention to warning signs: if a child’s anxiety is persistent, frequent and intense, it should be considered as a red flag.

When determining if a child’s anxiety should be a concern, Dr. Ehrenreich-May suggested that parents asks a few questions.

“Is the child’s anxiety persistent? Is it something that is sticking around long beyond the time where other kids would be transitioning? Is it frequent? Is it happening all the time? Is it happening every single day? Is it intense? Is the child crying – breaking down in tears every morning? Resisting getting out of the car every morning?” said Dr. Ehrenreich-May

Doctors say anxiety is like the common cold of mental health problems, if a child has not improved after two weeks, a parent should seek professional help.

Dr. Gladys Montes, Vice President of United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education said it is important to remember that children take their cues from parents.

“Children are like sponges. They’re listening to everything that you say. If they identify any kind of anxiety on your part, they are going to be anxious as well and they don’t understand,” said Dr. Montes.

Treatments are available for children who experiencing clinical anxiety. Experts said 60-70 percent of children who get behavioral treatment for anxieties tend to improve significantly within a 12-18 week period.

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