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Coping with Back-to-School Stress

Coping with Back-to-School Stress

​Stressful feelings are normal and expected in children and teens returning to school. Stress can help us prepare for challenges and change and should not always be viewed negatively.  Focus on building your child's resiliency so s/he can cope when problems arise.  Model positive self-care and teach your child ways to manage stress.  Spending positive quality time together will strengthen your relationship and enhance your child's well-being. 

Worries are Common. Although it is normal for your child to have worries, it is crucial to have your child attend school. It is important they experience all that school offers and learn to cope with their fears. Be sure to communicate with the school and teacher(s) about the stress your child may be feeling so they are better able to support your child his/her worries and concerns.

5 Steps to Deal with Bask-to-School Stress

Step 1   Take care of the basics: Ensure your child is getting enough sleep, eating regular meals and healthy snacks and has daily exercise. When your child's mind and body are nourished, communicating with you and meeting school challenges is easier

Step 2   Provide empathy: Listen to your child's hopes and concerns. What is s/he looking forward to and what is s/he worried about? Let your child share his/her hopes and fears and talk about what's on his/her mind.  Remember, you don't have to 'fix' the problem for them. Your child mainly needs to be heard and feel understood.

Step 3   Encourage connection: Social relationships are key to wellness and resiliency.  If possible help your child connect with other children in his/her class or school.   Schedule quality time with family and neighbourhood friends.

Step 4   Practice and problem solve: Many children starting school or a new grade will benefit from practicing routines such as the drop off and pickup.  If they identify other concerns, helping them problem solve and practice the possible solutions can also build confidence.

Step 5   Pay attention to your own behavior:  Children take cues from their parents:  the more confidence and calm you demonstrate, the more your child will believe s/he can handle this new hurdle. Be supportive yet firm. For instance say, in a calm tone, say: "I can see that going to school is making you scared, but you still have to go. Tell me what you are worried about, so we can talk about it."  

Modified from Anxiety BC                                                                             ​