With the first week back at school done and dusted, new research has shown that many Australian children are experiencing back to school anxiety.

The study, commissioned by UNO, has unveiled six-in-10 Australian children report feeling worried about fitting in and making new friends.

The national survey of more than 1,000 Aussie parents also went on to find that almost half of all parents have had their kids verbally express feelings of anxiety in the lead up to the first-day.

We spoke to Child Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Wellbeing for Kids Director, Georgina Manning, who shares her top tips for easing back to school anxiety and  jitters

1. Listen to kids’ feelings.

New places and spaces can bring up feelings of worry. Opening up the conversation with your little one helps validate their concerns and emotions – and, often just listening is enough to put them at ease.

2. Get back into the routine.

Routines allow children to feel a sense of safety and predictability. Encourage your child to get back into their usual sleeping routine a week ahead of school. My tip? Replace the screens before bed with gametime. A game (or two!) of UNO each evening can help relax the body and brain – and instil a sense of regularity, routine and familial connection between parent and child.

3. Create a visual task list.

Children have fun creating and love to learn from visuals, so get crafty with a physical checklist so they can track and manage their daily tasks.

4. Pre-plan the night before.

Plan and prepare as much of the morning ‘to-do’ list the night before. Think packing lunch boxes and laying out school uniforms to ease the morning rush.

5. Practice makes perfect.

Practice back to school tasks, like getting dressed in the morning and tying up shoes ahead of the first day. This helps make the ‘new’ familiar and creates a routine.

6. Make a visit to the school.

For children who are particularly anxious about starting schooling, a great idea is to make time for a visit ahead of the term to walk them through the grounds and play on the equipment.


To kick off the school year and help aid jitters, UNO has announced the launch of Day UNO, seeing local primary schools dedicate time during the first-day of term one to playing the card game, giving kids the opportunity to break the ice and build new relationships through gameplay.

For more information on UNO and Mattel, you can visit mattel.com.au. To follow UNO’s journey on social, visit FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Have your kids experienced back to school anxiety? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • A wonderful reminder as we will have to go through this all again due to the current virus stay at home situation. Thanks for sharing


  • This is such a great list.


  • All really good tips


  • This is a very good list/tips.


  • Great ideas there and it would also help with parental anxiety


  • being organised helps so that the kids aren’t worrying about being late, forgetting something etc on top of everything else and also so that the parents and franticness don’t rub on to the child.


  • I totally love the day Uno idea…wonderful way of connecting


  • Great tips and advice, I have saved this for when the times comes for us


  • I love the UNO idea what a great way to get children to interact with each other.


  • My youngest used to get so worked up he would vomit every morning before school. I’d drop him off, go up town to get the mail and be home within 10 minutes and he’d be home before me. Had this every day for 2 years, then in year 3 I spoke to his new teacher, explained the situation to him and he told me to leave it with him. From that day onwards my son couldn’t wait to get to school and he was always the last one to leave. No one else could give my son the confidence he needed until he came along.


  • I found it happened with my son every year… as every year brought something new and different. Once we realised, we were able to put things in place to plan the best we could and nip things in the bud before they became a problem.


  • Good suggestions. We did a count down till school starts and discussed the usual routine. The school gives a rough guide of a day in kindy so I talked my kids through it. That was probably the most helpful, aside from attending play group at the school prior to, which takes place in the kindy room.


  • My kids love going back to school.


  • Good tips


  • I’m more anxious for this day than my daughter knows


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