Is back-to-school anxiety worrying your kid? Try these calming tips.
Will I get more homework? What if my teacher is mean? Starting a new year comes with a lot of unknowns, so it’s no wonder that many parents report that their kiddo is struck with anxiety this time of year. The biggest clues: Her happy summer mood has quickly turned restless, irritable, or withdrawn, or she starts complaining about headaches, stomachaches, or sleep problems. The good news? It’s nothing for you to worry about, because we’ve asked the experts what you can do.
1. Share your story
Tell your child about that time in third grade when you were so worried about [whatever] but it ended up being totally okay. It will be proof that she’ll be able to overcome her stress as well.
2. Get them moving
All of the sitting still that comes with the return of school can wreak havoc on a kid’s nerves. To counter that, make sure your child gets plenty of exercise after school. Physical activity is great for preventing — and alleviating — anxiety.
3. Reset sleep
If you can, try to adjust summer sleep times to the school schedule one to two weeks before the first day. A sudden change in routine can trigger stress. If it didn’t work or if sleep is just hard to come by, practice deep belly breathing right before bed.
4. Make a plan
For instance, if your child is worried about meeting new friends, have him wear (and look for) conversation-starter clothes. How it works: He spies a classmate with an Angry Birds T-shirt. He likes Angry Birds, too! Ask potential-new-friend if he likes Angry Birds Star Wars. Bond created!