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Helping Children Overcome Anxiety

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Rochester: Helping Children Overcome Anxiety
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It's not uncommon when kids are starting school or going back to school to feel al little nervous, a little anxious but most time, over time things improve but for some kids it actually gets worse.

"School refusal and anxiety go often times hand in hand. One of biggest things we to parents is sit down with your kids and try to understand what it is that going on," said Dr. Kerry Murray-Pertchik.

What is usually going on has to do with separation or performance anxiety, symptoms in a younger child are pretty classic.

"Stomach aches , headaches, some agitation. We always look for kids with sleep disturbances, changes in appetite," she said.

If your child absolutely refuses to go to school, this is the time where tough love is needed.

"You don't give in to the school refusal and keep them home. The avoidance of anxiety producing cues, by allowing them to stay home, simply reinforces that pattern of avoidance and it can be more difficult to get that child back engaged again," said Dr. Murray-Pertchik.

For children who need more help getting back to school contact the school counselors and make a plan, ask them to provide a safe place the child can go to get support if they need it.

"Maybe the school counselors office where if the anxiety gets significant they are able to go to a safe location, not to hide out but to regroup or be coached on some skills in order to reintegrate back into the classroom again," she said.

If your child's stress and anxiety is not improving some experts suggest taking an assessment of what else in the home may be the causing stress for your child.

Parents who manage stress effectively in their own home can help kids do the same with school.

"If we reduce stress in home environment the children are going to benefit as well," said Dr. Murray-Pertchik.

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