Home > The BFRB Blog > BFRB Back-to-School Tips: Kindergarten to Grade 12

Back to school can be difficult for many reasons, and for those of us with BFRBs it can be even worse. Maybe over the summer, our pulling or picking got significantly worse. Maybe we are worried about how we  look or how we are going to hide ourselves from people. Ultimately, it can be a huge stressor, even more than worrying about homework and tests, so here are some quick tips for you, whether you’re the one going back to school or the parent of someone going back to school.

  • Talk to the principal, counsellor and/or teachers about BFRBs: while it might be nerve-wracking to do this, it can be extremely helpful. Alerting these people of your, or your child’s, situation can help them be prepared for any instances involving the BFRB and will provide a safe space to go to. Bring pamphlets, direct them to BFRB websites (like CBSN’s!) and keep in touch with them about how they can be of help.
  • Bring a Doctor’s Note: If you or your child is a hair puller and wearing a hat helps with pulling (or even scalp picking for pickers), see if it is within the school’s policies to wear a hat. If it is not, try bringing a doctor’s note to show that there is a medical reason for the hat and that it’s not just an accessory.
  • Buy clothes that you’re comfortable wearing: clothes are often a way that we hide ourselves. Don’t force a certain style of clothing just to fit in or because it’s what you’re supposed to wear; finding clothes that we’re comfortable in is ideal. If the school has uniforms, see if there are other options, such as pants instead of a skirt, a sweater/long sleeve shirt instead of short sleeves, etc.
  • Discreet fidget toys for class: pencil toppers, putty, spinner rings, fidget jewellery and so on are great, less noticeable fidget toys that can be kept in pockets, in pencil cases or in a desk.
  • Keep bandages handy: put them in a pencil case, in your backpack, lunch bag or wherever they’re easily grabbed in case they’re needed.
  • If your child is being bullied: be aware of it. It’s something that’s often warned about these days anyway, but bullying can be just as bad for BFRB children and teens as well. Fitting in is hard enough without having to explain a bald spot, missing eyebrows/eyelashes, or noticeable sores all over your body. Support your child through this and alert the principal and teachers.
  • If you are a teenager being bullied: find an adult you can trust, such as a counsellor (another good reason to get in touch with them at the beginning of the year!) so that you can talk about these things with them. Even if you don’t want the bullies to be reprimanded (for fear of more bullying), you will at least have an outlet and someone to talk to about it.
  • Sign up for a club or team: these can be fun distractions that can help deter picking and pulling; at the very least it will take time away from doing so!
  • Take breaks during homework/studying: taking breaks can help you refocus and avoid zoning out, which can lead to absentminded picking or pulling.
  • Check for support groups in your area: there may be a support group already established in your area, if not, maybe speak to a teacher/counsellor about starting one for the school! Not only could it be helpful to you, but it may help someone else who you didn’t even know was struggling with these issues, too!