(WFSB) - For many students, the upcoming new school year can cause a lot of anxiety.
Experts said that in some cases, it's not the classroom but the restroom that stresses them out.
“It’s not talked about often, but a lot of kids have an anxiety about using the bathroom at school,” said Julia Edelstein, Parents magazine editor-in-chief.
It can be even more so after a year at home.
“A bathroom that is in a classroom might feel like there is very little privacy,” Edelstein said. “Many kids have a fear of automatic flush toilets or just loud flushes in general and so if this is your kid, it will do them a great service by doing a little homework in advance to help them be comfortable at school so they are not holding it all day, they don’t have a urinary tract infection or they don’t have an accident which can be really embarrassing for a kid even at a young age.”
She said practice makes perfect.
“So, one of our favorite tips is just to practice using a public restroom,” Edelstein said. “So, if you have a few weeks leading up to school, now is a great time to go a restaurant and use the restroom there, go to a rest stop and use the bathroom there. Expose your kids to a couple of different kinds of situations.
Also, parents should do their homework and figure out what the situation will be like for their children so they can prepare them.
“Now is a great time to contact the school, talk to your child’s teacher, let them know your child has this specific anxiety and see if you can arrange a visit to the bathroom in advance or if you can just get a sense from the teacher what the process will be like when your child needs to use the bathroom so that you can tell them about it in advance,” Edelstein said. “Preparation can really go a long way in helping children with anxiety conquer their fears and transition into the school year smoothly.
Parents magazine is published by the parent company of WFSB, the Meredith Corporation.