Managing Back-To-School Stress

Managing Back-To-School Stress

It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year where our schedules are jam packed, the kids go back to routine, and everything feels chaotic. That’s right, the beginning of the school year.

As parents, we’re mostly prepared for what’s coming. However, our kids might not feel the same way. The beginning of the school year can bring up a lot of anxious and stressful emotions for our kids.

Below are a few ways to make the transition back to school a bit easier to manage for you and the children. However, if the school year is especially difficult and full of obstacles, there could be more going on that needs to be addressed.

At Dr. Messina & Associates, our psychologists are trained to help children and teens manage their stress and anxiety. Our offices are located in Flower Mound and Southlake, TX, and we have teletherapy options for those that may be better suited for it.

 

Create a Calming Morning Routine

The start of the day often has a ripple effect on the rest of the day. If anything, establish a morning routine that encourages a calm demeanor and sets our kids up for success. Routines are grounding, create a sense of stability, and set a positive tone for the day.

It could be a morning walk, repeating affirmations, or a short dance or yoga session. It’s best to let them choose what works for them. A soothing activity not only creates a calm environment, but it will give them something to look forward to before they start their day.

Set Screen-Time Rules

Nowadays, every child and teen has a screen stuffed in their face, whether that’s at home or school. In the summer, screen rules might be a little more relaxed. Screens and smartphones increase anxiety if not properly managed, so creating limits is important. Establish screen time boundaries with your kids for the school year, especially around the morning and night hours.

Establish What is Within Their Power

There are a lot of unknowns to face at the beginning of the year. Kids might stress about whether they’ll know anyone in their class, what their teacher will be like, etc. Helping our kids shift their attention to stuff within their control is important for keeping a stable mood.

They may not know what they’re walking into, but they can control what happens beforehand. Setting themselves up for a good night’s sleep, picking out clothes the night before, and picking their morning routine are some things within their control.

Prioritize Time in Nature

Kids might be indoors a lot more during the school year than they are in the summer. When school takes up most of the daytime hours, it’s easy to put time for outdoor play on the backburner.

Being intentional about getting outdoors will help ease a lot of stress and anxiety. The fresh air is soothing for our kids and encourages better sleep and overall better development. It can be as simple as going for a short walk.

 

Back-to-School Tips for Parents

The start of school can be tough on a parent, too. If you have a particularly anxious or stressed child, it’s easy to feel worried and stressed for them. It’s even harder if your kids are younger. If you feel this way, you’re not alone.

Instead of letting the school time jitters affect you, there are steps you can take to feel more prepared. When we establish a game plan beforehand, it can take away a lot of the stress that comes with the unknown.

Lead By Example

We already know that going back to school is tough for many students. As parents, our reactions to overwhelming experiences have a profound effect on our children. If your kid experiences a lot of stress and anxiety around this time, being their compass for dealing with heavy emotions can make a huge difference in their experience with school.

It’s all too easy to allow our fears and anxiety take over the experience and make things worse. When anxiety turns to irritability and negative emotions and behavior, take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment to self-regulate so you can help them do the same.

Stay Involved

Life is busy and chaotic just managing our own schedule. However, our children need us, and staying involved is important. Showing an interest in our child’s schoolwork and being as present as possible has huge benefits to our kids.

Involvement could look like helping them get organized and asking how their day was with genuine interest. Making time to be a part of their lives helps with grades, behavior, and development.

 

Need Additional Help?

Every parent wants to see their child succeed. As therapists, we want to see your child thrive. If you already maintain a busy schedule, it can be especially difficult to give your child the attention they need during a tough transition all on your own. Our counselors in Flower Mound and Southlake can work with you to help your kids find strength through difficult situations.

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.

 

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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