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Managing back-to-school jitters

September 2, 2021
Managing back-to-school jitters

(NC) After a summer off, going back to school, homework, exams, and the unknowns of teachers and classmates can all be sources of anxiety. Add to that the uncertainty of hybrid learning models, pandemic protocols and the fact that many kids have been learning remotely for so long, the thought of going back to school can quickly become overwhelming.

Help your kids manage back-to-school jitters and set them up for success with these three simple tips:

Rest their minds and bodies

Sleep is restorative, and it can be one of the most powerful ways to improve mental and physical well-being. When kids are well rested, they can think more clearly, make better decisions and reduce anxiety.

Long summer days can mean later bedtimes, so start to ease them back into an earlier schedule and make sure they’re getting a good night’s sleep. That way they’ll be in a good routine and ready for early-morning start times once the school year begins.

Focus on the positives

If your child is feeling a bit anxious, try to shift their focus from the things they’re worrying about to the things they’re looking forward to. Maybe they’re excited to see old friends again, buy new school supplies or get involved in an after-school activity.

Being prepared can also help ease anxiety, so find things you can do together like setting up a workspace, organizing supplies or planning lunches and snacks. Not only can these activities be fun, but they can also help kids feel more proactive and less overwhelmed.

Teach them stress management

Learning how to cope with stress in times of adversity is a valuable life skill for kids. Here are some simple techniques you can teach your child: breathing techniques — get them to focus on their breathing and take deep breaths as they count to 10; visualization — have them close their eyes and picture something that makes them feel happy and calm, like a place or person they love; journaling — encouraging them to write their thoughts down on paper can help them sort through their feelings when they’re overwhelmed.

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