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Getting ready for a new school year can be exciting for children, parents and caregivers. It may also be a major cause of anxiety or stress. Whether kids are heading off to elementary school, high school or college, leaving the safety and familiarity of home can prompt feelings of fear. Dr. Stephen Whiteside, a psychologist with Mayo Clinic Children's Center, says if back-to-school anxiety or separation anxiety become overwhelming and disruptive, taking steps to reduce those fears is important. "Some kids are more anxious than others, and transitions like going back to school can be more difficult for them," says Dr. Whiteside. "Talking to them and preparing them ahead of time by doing things such as visiting the schools and meeting teachers can be beneficial."
Watch: Dr. Whiteside discusses back to school anxieties and fears.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites are in the downloads.
Dr. Whiteside offers additional tips that can help:
If anxiety becomes severe, talk to your health care provider to be sure the anxiety is not caused by an underlying issue, such as a learning disability.
For parents who have separation anxiety from sending their child off to college, Dr. Whiteside recommends getting support by talking to others who have already gone through that transition.
Learn more about pediatric anxiety disorders.
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