Back to School: Pediatric Stress

Peer pressure, bullying, new school anxiety? Your child may be facing some of these issues prior to the start of the new school year or even day care.

In previous generations, children were not expected to separate from their parents until they were in Kindergarten. For various reasons, many children are now placed in daycare at an earlier age and some children may not be prepared. As for older children, preparing for standardized testing consists of hours of homework every night and children struggling to keep pace with the schools expectation results in additional stress.

Usually, children who have school anxiety show a range of stress-related symptoms such as complaints of aches and pains, no appetite, or lack of sleep. In these instances, the children are not being oppositional; they are simply displaying their anxieties through these physical symptoms. Of course, it is always important to maintain open communication with your children but when should you seek intervention? Always check with your pediatrician to rule out any physical issues.

Some tips provided by Parents Magazine are:
• Reassure your child that it is normal to feel a little scared in new situations, but nervousness should not mean he/she should stay home.
• Remind your child of other first time experiences they have had in the past and reassure them how great they once did in the past.
• Rule out problems at school or at home: ask your child’s teacher about any episodes of bullying or teasing

If after several weeks without positive results, you have tried different approaches, speak with your pediatrician about meeting with a social worker, psychologist or a child psychiatrist. To schedule an appointment with one of our pediatricians in the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s pediatric ambulatory clinic, please contact 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.