Relieving Back to School Stress and Anxiety

Many kids (and parents) are feeling anxiety over a new school year. From crazy mornings to last-minute school projects, and the tons of activities can be tough on both parents and students, causing at times intense stress and anxiety. Here are few ways you can reduce stress:

Start Early to Prevent Sleep Loss or Insomnia

Over the summer, most families stay up later due to the increased sunlight. While it may be tempting to keep the late-night fun going up until the end, starting your school routine a few weeks early can help ease the transition back to school. Two to three weeks before school, begin going to bed earlier and getting up earlier as you would with a normal school routine. And, don’t forget to try to eat on a more regular schedule. Appropriate rest can help your child better manage stress on the first day. 

Do a Walk-Through

It’s also a good idea to visit the school before the first day, especially if this is your first year in the school. For kids who are going to be first-timers (kindergarten, middle school or even high school), this can help them feel more comfortable with the new place and get a better idea of where to go once they’re there. Returning students may also find it helpful. It doesn’t hurt to know where the classroom is, say hello to whatever staff is there getting ready and start getting excited about going back.

Get Ready

Back to school shopping may help your child get excited about the new school year. If your child really couldn’t care less about shopping, you can make it quick and painless, but for kids who relish the annual decisions of which clothes, backpacks, and other supplies to choose, it can be an easy way to ease your child into the new year. 

Talk to One Another

One of the best ways to relieve back to school anxiety and stress, and prepare for the coming year is to simply talk to your child about what he or she may be feeling. When the subject of school comes up, let your child tell you what’s exciting about school as well as what may be a little anxiety-provoking. If your child expresses some negativity about the school, don’t discount his or her concerns; instead, focus on validating feelings. Then you can help find solutions or shift the focus to a more positive one like seeing friends, covering exciting new material and growing up. This can be an excellent time to discuss important topics like how to handle bullies, peer pressure, and other important topics. Creating open lines of communication lets your child know that you’ll be available for support.

The main thing to remember in dealing with back to school jitters is to be prepared mentally and logistically. Know what to expect and be prepared, and have a plan to keep things manageable. Then follow that plan. If you show your enthusiasm for what the new school year brings, your kids are sure to pick up on it and the nervous energy will turn into excitement.