School Anxiety

Learn why so many children are nervous about going to school — and what you can do to help.

School Anxiety


“I don’t want to go to school!” It’s an age-old complaint from children. But a growing body of research suggests that this protest can signal a deeper problem: school anxiety. Recent studies show that anxiety disorders are one of the most common psychiatric conditions among kids, with as many as 10% suffering from them and requiring medical treatment. No studies have been conducted on how common school anxiety is, but some experts believe it’s on the rise among younger kids, including preschoolers.

“Our society is expecting more and more from our kids at younger ages,” says Sucheta Connolly, M.D., a child psychiatrist and director of the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the University of Illinois in Chicago, which treats children as young as 2. “And not all of them can handle it.” But how do you know whether your child’s protests are a ploy to avoid an uncomfortable situation or a genuine cry for help? In an interview with Child, Dr. Connolly explained how to tell the difference and outlined what parents can do to ease every child’s entry into school.

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