August is the time for a new school year, new experiences, and new anxieties for kids

It can take several month for kids to adjust to being back in the classroom
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 9:00 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - New clothes, new friends and sometimes new schools, but also new stresses and anxieties for kids as they head back to school.

“Anticipating and wondering about new things is a hard time for kids,” said Carolyn Ievers-Landis, Ph.D., clinic psychologist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “And some kids just don’t like change,”

Back-to-school stresses can lead to changes in sleep, eating, and mood.

High school is the time when anxiety goes up and sleep goes down.

“I find mostly when kids start high school, so ninth grade, is when a lot of my patients s start having sleep disorders because they start to worry about all the work they have to do and all of the projects and the tests,” said Dr. Landis.

And middle schoolers have another concern, bullying, which peaks in seventh and eighth grade and almost disappears by senior year in high school.

And although COVID isn’t a major health concern for parents or kids this school year, many kids are still recovering in other ways from the virus.

“I think there are a lot of kids that got out of the habit of being with peers,” said Landis. “It has gotten worse. There are so many of my patients (who)have social anxiety now, especially about being in bigger groups that just don’t have the skills.”

For parents and guardians to help, they need to make sure kids are getting exercise, sleep, and eating right. They also need to make sure kids know they are there to help and counseling is available if needed.