Signs of Back-to-School Anxiety in Kids

As our kids begin their school year, you may notice changes in mood and behavior among them.

From preschool to high school here are six signs and behaviors of back-to-school anxiety. My children exhibit anxiety differently and among them I have learned how to approach them. When starting something new, kids tend to have anxiety and talking about their feelings can help you determine how to approach their behaviors. Below are 5 common signs of back-to-school anxiety and how we handle it. 

  1. Restlessness

  2. Anger and irritability

  3. Clingy

  4. Trouble sleeping

  5. Unexplained crying


Restlessness may occur during back-to-school time due to overstimulation. Liliana and Liam are in a vigorous program at school and a lot may be put on them. To calm their restlessness, we let the children decompress when they come home from school. We give a snack and time to talk and do a small activity before starting homework. We also do a cool down an hour before bed.


We see the anger and irritability from our 3-year-old to my 15-year-old step-daughter.

Kids may become angry from holding in their emotions at school. Something may have made them frustrated or upset at school, but they kept their cool. Once they get home, they feel safe to be angry. We do allow our kids to be angry, but they have to excuse themselves then come back when they are ready. Talking about their day and how they are feeling.

My children love to be independent so when I notice that they are a little clingy, I know something is wrong. Liam is all about his dad and when he wants to be held by mama or wants to talk, he is having some anxiety. He will usually talk to me about something at school. Liliana will explicitly say she is scared about a situation or a activity at school and I tell her she may have a bit of anxiety. Ivy is my really outgoing girl and if she is reluctant to go into school and hold on to me, I know she may have a bit of anxiety. 

When children have trouble sleeping near back-to-school time, they may have anxiety about going to school and what’s to come the next day. How battle those next-day scaries, we will do our bedtime routine an hour before bedtime. Then we limit rough-housing and screen-time before bed. Our kids like to lay on the couch with us and read books or talk about what they are looking forward to on the weekend. 

Unexplained crying is a big one in our household.

When we know the kids have had a good night sleep and a fairly good day at school and they start to cry at things they usually wouldn’t, back to school anxiety may be the culprit. Getting and staying in the school routine may be hard at first. It puts a lot on their mind and may cry at various times that may be unexplained to you. They may not be able to communicate why they are crying, and that’s okay. We just try to allow the children to walk away from what they are doing and decompress. 

Anxiety is a feeling we all have from time to time and our kids are no exception. So, give your children the freedom to talk about how they feel and ease their anxiety. 


Mujaahadeanah Pohlheber
Hi! I am a wife, a mother of three and NICU nurse born and raised in Charlotte, NC. I married my husband and have been growing my family for the past 6 years. I enjoy playing tennis, guitar, listening to music and traveling in my free time. My dedication in helping others as a NICU nurse and a volunteer in the community allows me to continue to meet those seeking help with motherhood. As a mother of three young children, I am continuing to navigate motherhood, and while doing so I have gained the ability to be brave, resilient, and strong.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here