Summer has been flying by and the school year will soon begin anew. This year may look different than last year did for kids. That means the stress levels for both students and parents may be higher than normal. Covid-19 has impacted all of us one way or another. Last year your child may have done virtual learning, in school learning or a combination of both. Your child may feel strange about going back to the classroom if they have been doing virtual learning. Classroom sizes may be larger than last year for those who were in the classroom. The debates still rage about masks and vaccines.
Sports and other extracurricular activities are starting up again making schedules more hectic. Your student may feel concern over academics, social interactions and meeting new people, adjusting to a new school or new schedule, just to name a few things. Even if your children are excited about the new school year, they may still experience anxious feelings as they go thru the transition to new routines. They will also pick up on your stress if you are worried about it.
Some stress is normal and can be positive, but too much stress is harmful for both the physical and mental health of you and your children. How do you know when it is too much stress? Signs to look for might include feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, sleeplessness, stomach aches, tension headaches, withdrawal from activities previously enjoyed, or unexplained sadness.
How can you help your children manage their stress? Talk to them. Help your child learn to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety. Make a plan for what to do when they begin to feel anxious about things like homework, their grades or how to fit everything into their day. Make a list of activities they can do when they start feeling stressed. Activities to help relieve stress could include taking a break to pet the cat, calling a friend, walking the dog, listening to music, physical exercise, and so on. Choose simple, calming activities that are easy to follow through with. Make sure they have “un-scheduled” time to relax every day. Establishing routines such as having their backpack ready, clothes picked out and breakfast planned the night before.
By knowing how to relieve your stress and helping them relieve their stress, you can help them feel good about themselves and have a successful school year. You are your child’s best advocate. If you or your child needs professional help in overcoming stress and anxiety, we have therapists available for your needs.