Summer is coming to an end, and the beginning of school is right around the corner. For parents, it’s back to the school-year routine. For a child, it commonly means a new teacher, new classmates, new routines, new thoughts and maybe even a new school. However, all this excitement can unfortunately bring on some anxiety.
While the causes of anxiety in children can differ, anxious feelings are normal and even expected as children make these important transitions in their lives. I have found that when dealing with a fear-driven thought, it’s important to walk through the fear in its entirety to help children problem solve. For instance, if your child is nervous about attending a new school and is afraid they’ll get lost or be late to class, don’t just reassure them that everything is going be OK. Instead, help walk them through the worst things that could happen and go through different scenarios of what to do if they get lost.
Besides talking out fears, I have found that homeopathic remedies may be helpful in calming back-to-school jitters. Below are just a few examples of some of the remedies that may be helpful for anxious children.
Homeopathic Remedies for Anxiety in Children
Here are five homeopathic remedies to consider that may improve anxiety symptoms in children. These remedies can be taken as pellets and dissolved in the mouth. Remember, it is always best to consult with a trained health care provider before starting to more accurately get the correct remedy and potency for your child:
- Pulsatilla: This remedy is appropriate for a child who is very timid, mild and tends to have a yielding disposition. Oftentimes, they have a strong emotional bond with their mother and cling to them. They may display their anxiety by demanding excessive attention, weeping often and crying at almost everything. Generally, their anxiety is worse in a warm room and they seek the open air.
- Lycopodium Clavatum: This is one of the first remedies that come to mind when speaking about anticipatory anxiety. Lycopodium is suitable for children who have an aversion to undertaking new things, yet when they do so, they go through it with relative ease. A lot of the anticipatory anxiety is because they are afraid they will fail and look foolish. Most of these children try to conceal these insecurities with over-confident mannerisms.
- Gelsemium: This is often the first remedy considered when it comes to test anxiety and stage fright. One of the keynote symptoms for this remedy include anticipation of any unusual ordeal, such as appearing in public, public speaking or test anxiety that can bring on diarrhea.
- Phosphorus: This remedy is good for a child who is generally very sharp, alert and desires creative activities yet has many anxieties. In their anxious state, they become fearful when they are alone and, for that reason, strongly desire company. They are very restless and fidgety and desire to be rubbed gently. When they are anxious, they can bite their nails. Lastly, they have a strong fear of the dark and their anxiety is oftentimes worse during thunderstorms.
- Baryta Carbonicum: This is a great remedy if your child is afraid to go to school because of undertaking anything new, such as new people, new classes, etc. This child is excessively shy, they oftentimes hide behind their mother, their hands or furniture so strangers can’t look at them. They tend to lack self-confidence. If this type of child walks into a room with people laughing, they may assume the people are laughing at them. They easily get homesick because they feel a sense of safety in their home. Lastly, this child may also have some problems in the classroom with learning. They tend to be very forgetful and inattentive, and have a hard time learning and remembering new information.
Diet and Emotional Health
Diet may also play a major role in emotional health. While sugar itself may not cause anxiety, researchers have found that it might worsen anxiety symptoms. In one study, researchers found that rats that binged on sugar and then fasted displayed anxiety-like behaviors. It’s important to limit the amount of sugar-laden, processed foods in your child’s diet throughout the school year. This may not only help with keeping their anxiety at bay but also may help improve their overall health and immunity.
Other Tips for Reducing Anxiety in Children
Here are some other ways you can help reduce anxiety in children:
- Role playing can help your children to come up with different plans for different scenarios that they may be anxious about.
- Focus on the positives and help your children redirect their attention from negative worries to positive thoughts. This could be getting to see friends they haven’t seen since the last day of school, focusing on a special snack in their lunch bag, or any other positive experiences you can come up with.
- Pay attention to your own behavior. Remember, children are very aware of how parents react to situations. Even if it doesn’t seem like they are paying attention, they hear and see more then we think they do. Children also learn many cues and emotions from their parents. If you can show more confidence and less anxiety, your children are more likely to follow suit.
While back-to-school jitters are common, there are many ways to help tackle them before they get out of hand. Consider some of these tips the next time you are faced with a child who is experiencing anxiety around school and life. Best wishes for a happy and healthy school year.