The first day of school can be an uneasy time for young children, even those who have some experience with school under their belts.
Just the way an adult feels a bit of anxiety and anticipation before doing anything new or challenging, a little nervousness is to be expected, says Dr. Balter. It's really a matter of degree.
But there are also conditions that are more serious than just age-appropriate worrying about going to school. Sometimes a child suffers from something known as "separation anxiety disorder," he says.
The following are some signs to look for:
- Shows excessive distress when parents discuss school
- Worries about bad things happening to relatives and caregivers
- Shows fear of being alone
- Has nightmares about separation
- Complains of nausea, stomach aches and headaches
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