Solutions For School Year Anxieties

Back to school anxiety is a big deal. Here’s how to prepare your family for a healthy new season.

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, and if you're feeling a little bit blue, you're not alone. Going back to school is a transition for everyone, so we put together some tips to deal with those new school year jitters and anxieties.

New year, new anxiety
The end of summer can make any happy kid sad and anxious about going back to school. The best way to help them cope is by being a good listener. Let them share feelings of sadness or anxiety about the upcoming school year. This way you can trouble-shoot potential problems. If they’re starting at a new school, visit ahead of time, be organized to avoid feeling overwhelmed about what goes in the backpack and help them set some goals for the upcoming year. They can focus on the excitement of what’s next rather than dwell on the end of summer.

Under Pressure
Carefree summer days are coming to a close, and your child is entering a new phase. You can’t be with them every second of the day, but you can prepare them for some school-related challenges like cliques and bullying.

Cliques can sometimes form around common interests but can quickly take a negative turn when kids start feeling excluded. Talking to your child about these experiences can prevent problems before they arise. Talk about your own experiences, find stories they can relate to, foster out-of-school relationships and encourage healthy friendships. Keeping an open dialogue can help curb feelings of rejection and isolation, and your child can find a healthy way to fit in.

The big difference between bullying and teasing
Most children have been teased by a sibling or friend at some point but when teasing becomes hurtful, unkind and constant, it crosses a line. It’s important to take bullying seriously as the mental health effects can be dangerous. Prep your kids for potential problems at school by explaining the signs of bullying. Encourage them to speak up if they witness or are the subject of any harmful actions.

Pay attention to unspoken signs
Children might be reluctant to talk about bullying because of fear or embarrassment. Look out for warning signs like anxiety, reduced appetite, sleep or lack of interest in things they usually enjoy. If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and use it as a conversation starter by asking, "What do you think of this?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" This might lead to questions like: "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" 

Be their parent, partner and pal
Provide a listening ear about difficult situations but encourage your kids to also tell you about the good parts of their day and listen equally attentively.

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