Reducing back to school stress

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — With all the excitement the new school year brings, it also brings stress and anxiety for everyone including parents and kids.

Doctor Patty Ann Tublin stopped by our station to share 3 easy tips to reduce the stress.

1. Ease kids back into a new sleep routine – making sure it is age appropriate.

  • Young children: ages 5-8 or 1- 3rd grade. The younger the child, the sooner the new sleep routine needs to start. For example, with young children, ages 5-8 – approximately 5-7 days before the first day of school – begin the new sleep schedule. Put the kids to bed & wake them up at the time that will mirror their school week.
  • Children ages 9-12/ 4-7th grade. These children can begin their new sleep routine approximately 4-5 days before the start of school.
  • Teenagers – High School. Teenagers should begin their new sleep routine 1-3 days before the start of school. Acclimating kids to a new sleep schedule insures they will be well rested for the 1st day of school – which helps with memory, mood & motivation.

2. Be on the look out for any out-of-the ordinary anxieties or jitters that your child might be manifesting before the start of school & try to ascertain what is going on.

  • Maybe the kids are worried about meeting new kids; maybe they remember an unhappy situation from last year, etc. Get the kids to verbalize their fears and/or concerns.
  • Emphasize this is a new school year – with a new beginning.
  • Acknowledge their concerns and then while legitimizing them – minimize them. Fear of the unknown can make kids and adults a little nervous. On a more serious note regarding anxieties if your child exhibits what is called avoidance behavior, they become clingy, complain of a sick stomach or headache, cries when leaving for school. Often the best thing to do is to say a quick good-bye and reassurance them as realistically as possible, that they will be fine at school.
  • Teenagers might become beyond the pale obnoxious and angry and act out inappropriately.
  • Communicate as much as possible and help them verbalize their concerns.

3. Bullying/Cyber bullying is a very real issue, so if you help your child identify a trusted adult in the school, (not necessarily the guidance counselor), that they can turn to if they become the victim of bullying. When it comes to cyber bullying, it is imperative you stress the importance of having your child tell you if they are bullied on-line via Facebook, email etc.

For more information on everything Doctor Patty Ann Tublin has talked about, and for her newsletter click here.

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