by Emily Graham, Mighty Moms
Almost one-third of teenagers feel sad or depressed due to stress. School has become more and more nerve-wracking, even for younger children, as the pressure builds from all directions. There are classes, homework, tests, extracurricular activities, and sports, as well as the constant need to be cool and hang out with the right crowd.
Now the first day of school is coming, and that can be downright intimidating, especially if your child already suffers from anxiety. It’s going to take some extra effort on your part to ensure they get through it with as little stress as possible. Here are some tips.
Adopt the Right Attitude
Your goal is to calm them, not deliver lectures when discussing school. In fact, Chris Palmer, the author of Raising Your Kids to Succeed: What Every Parent Should Know, urges you to be caring, empathetic and supportive. Listen to their problems and worries while letting your children find their own solutions. Above all, be sure to show your unconditional love.
Make Sure They Stay Fit
Healthy habits relieve stress, says a wellness coach writing for Verywell Mind. There’s not much time left before summer ends, so get them exercising and eating well so it becomes a routine. Encourage them to work a physical activity they enjoy into their schedule while you plan meals packed with vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. The last piece of the puzzle is a bedtime routine so they get enough sleep and wake up refreshed.
Get on Track Early
The first hour of the day sets the tone, so establish a morning routine that flows effortlessly from waking up to arriving at school with no hang-ups in between. Preparation starts the night before with packing lunches, laying out clothes, and even making breakfast. That will have the kids well-fed and looking good with no morning rush to set off their nerves.
Buy the Supplies They Need
They’ll struggle with work if they don’t have the right gear to get their homework done easily, and that leads to frustration. Start with the basics like a book bag, paper, pens, and binders before moving on to high-tech items like calculators. Among older students, more and more are carrying laptops to class, which are invaluable when researching and writing papers.
It’s easy to fall behind with so many projects and papers to finish unless you have a system in place to keep your child up to date. A filing cabinet and labeled bins work wonders, along with Post-It notes to remind them what needs doing and when.
Learn Calming Strategies
Even if your child is prepared for the day, something is likely to get on their nerves, such as a classmate or a tough assignment. There are strategies to cope with this frustration, and using them properly could save a lot of trouble down the road. A writer at The Mighty recommends deep breathing, listening to music, and imagining a calm place to settle their nerves.
Talk to Them About Risks
Dangers lurk in between classes, especially for teens who may encounter classmates who smoke, drink, or use drugs. Your child may be tempted to do the same, either to deal with the pressures of school or just to be cool. Explain how this is never the right way to cope with anxiety, as it could lead to an addiction that ruins their health and their life.
Take It Easy
Classes start easy and get more difficult as the year progresses. This gives your child the opportunity to ease into their studies rather than take off at full throttle. Use this time to your advantage by encouraging good work habits and keeping to a schedule with enough breaks so they don’t get overwhelmed.
Healthy, organized, and informed, your child is ready to tackle the year with gusto. Any lingering anxiety should be manageable by staying positive and sticking to your routine. With a little effort, their school days will be as exciting as they are productive.
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