Going back to school is a time of mixed emotions for most children. There’s a lot of excitement with a good dose of uncertainty thrown in. We’re here to help you beat the back to school nerves this September with a few tried and tested top tips.

How to spot back to school nerves

Children can’t always tell us what they are feeling or understand why they are feeling different. We need to look out for it in their behaviour.


When children are feeling nervous about school, they may:

  • Complain of stomach aches

  • Appear more clingy than normal and struggle with separation anxiety

  • Be restless and fidgety

  • Get angry more quickly

  • Have difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Not feel as hungry

  • Cry without obvious explanation

  • Struggle to concentrate


If any of these sound familiar then it’s likely that your child is processing some worries about the upcoming change ahead. This is completely normal but it’s also something that we shouldn’t ignore.

10 top tips for dealing with back to school stress and anxiety

It’s tempting to dismiss nerves about going back to school – “There’s nothing to worry about. I promise you’ll be fine.” However confident we feel that this is going to be the case, sadly these words aren’t going to make your child feel better. Doing something is a great way of calming the mind. Below are 10 top tips of things you can do which will help to make this year’s return to school as stress-free as possible.


1. Get organised together

Two weeks before school starts get your child involved in making a list of all the things they need for the return to school. This will help your child to feel more in control. Stationery, uniform, school shoes, bags, PE kits, lunchboxes and coats etc. Get all the things from around the house that you’ve got already and figure out if you need to buy anything new. Try putting together a back to school checklist.


2. Go on a school shopping day

Arrange a shopping day for any last minute bits together and make it a treat. Allow them to choose a special piece of stationery or lunchbox. This will build some excitement around the start of school and will help your child to feel more confident. They know what they will be wearing and taking with them on the day they return. 


3. Start school-style routine

In the days immediately prior to school starting, adjust wake up times, breakfast and meal times to be in line with school. This way starting school will not be such a big shock to the body.


4. Bring learning back into your routine

If some of your normal school time practises such as daily spellings, reading, times tables have dropped off in the holidays then start to incorporate them into your day again. Not sure where to start, then try some of Explore Learning’s free learning resources to get back in the swing of things. 


5. Arrange playdates 

Meeting up with some friends who will be in the same classes in September will help break down any nerves your child might have about seeing people they haven’t been in touch with for a few weeks or not met before in the case of a new school. 

2 children talking to each other on a playdate

6. Do a practice school run

This is especially important for a child who is starting a new school or facing a different routine to one that they’ve previously had. Make a day in the calendar, set the alarm clock for the time they’ll need to wake up and get everything ready just as they would for a day of school. Put on school uniform (a great way of checking there’s nothing they’ve suddenly grown out of) and do your complete journey. Walk up to the school and look around getting familiar again with the layout. Explain where you’ll be dropping them off and picking them up. This rehearsal is a great way for both of you to see what went well and where you might need to build in more time.


7. Meet with a friend on the first morning

If your child is anxious about going into school alone then make a plan to meet with a friend on route so they have some to talk to on the journey in. If this goes well perhaps it’s something you can build into your daily routine. 


8. Listen to your child’s worries

If your child is wanting to talk about their worries, being able to listen to them and acknowledge their feelings will help them to feel more secure. Remember that often children just need space to talk about what’s upsetting them – you don’t need to try and fix everything. You can boost their confidence by acknowledging their feelings. Try phrases like ‘This is a new experience’, ‘I know it’s a big change’.


9. Boost confidence

Think about times when your child coped with change before – at nursery, trying out a new club or at another school. Give them confidence that they can handle this new situation and that you’re here for them at every step.


10. Look after you

The start of the school year can be anxiety inducing for us parents too. There’s a lot to think about whilst reinstating routines, planning packed lunches, after-school clubs and homework. Check out some suggested coping skills for stressed parents. It’s easy to unintentionally pass our stress on to our kids, so make time for yourself in all of this.


We at Explore Learning are proud to be with you throughout your family’s school journey. We wish you the very best start to the new school year in September. For any advice or support please pop into a centre or chat with our tutors online

Achieve real progress

and unlock the joy of learning.

Learn more

Cancel anytime

No joining fee

In centre or online

Memberships to suit you

Cancel anytime

No joining fee

In centre or online

Memberships to suit you

Cancel anytime

No joining fee

In centre or online

Memberships to suit you

netmums recommended
mumsnet rated
Education Investor Awards 2019 Winner Private tutoring company
Sunday Times best big companies to work for 2019
Cyber Essentials Certified Plus
2019 Business Excellence Winner - Best After School Tuition Provider - UK - Explore learning

Your nearest centres

Sorry, we don't have any centres within {{distance}} miles

image alt text from CMS

Explore learning online tuition

We also offer online tuition to flexibly fit into your family’s life.

Results from outside {{distance}} miles

Please select a centre

Showing {{count}} closest to '{{postcode}}'




{{distance}} miles

Select this centre

Search again

Please enter a valid postcode or location