The start of a new school year can be stressful for your child. There is a change in schedule, homework, and new classes. They also have to balance all of this with their home duties like chores and hanging out with their friends.
It’s your job as their parent to help them get through all of this back to school stress and cope with the new year ahead of them. Doing this can be just as stressful on you as it is them though.
That’s why we’re here with some helpful advice. Here are a few great ways to help your child get through the new school year stress-free.
1. Identify the Signs
When your child is stressed they will give off obvious signs. They’ll display a change in behavior. They will become more aggressive or start throwing more tantrums.
They may ask for reassurance more often or ask repetitive questions like “do you think my friends will be in my class”? They will start to complain about physical pains like headaches and stomachaches.
They might take longer to fall asleep then they normally would and they may start to avoid school activities that they once enjoyed. Once you’ve identified that they are stressed then you can start making strides to help them through it.
2. Listen to Your Child
Sometimes instead of showing signs, your child will come out and tell you when they are stressed about something. If your little one is complaining about not wanting to go to school, hear them out.
Find out what the root of the problem is. Don’t dismiss their troubles. Let them share what they have on their mind with empathy.
They’re talking to you because they trust you to help them work through the problem. Chances are, you can either by assisting them at home or by going to their school.
3. Approach the Anxiety, Don’t Avoid it
You’re going to have a gut reaction to shield your child from all the school anxiety that they are feeling but you can’t protect them forever. You’re sweeping the anxiety under the rug and your child will make it a habit throughout life if you let them do it now.
Instead, you want to acknowledge that the anxiety is there and give them real solutions to tackle it. If little Mary is scared about her solo in the school choir concert let her practice by singing to you. After the concert is over, praise her for going through with it and doing well.
4. Get Your Children to Bed
Children need way more sleep than adults do. Kids who are in kindergarten need 10 to 12 hours every night. You need to make sure that they get to bed at a reasonable time so they can get this sleep.
When they don’t rest they’ll start feeling more anxious about the little stuff. If they can’t settle down because of something that’s going on, help them address it so they can start sleeping again.
5. Model the Behavior You Want to See in Them
When your child is throwing a tantrum in the morning because they don’t want to get ready for school, it can be easy to get exasperated. Giving in to this feeling will only make things worse.
When you start yelling, it will cause them to get more anxious and therefore act out even more. It will also reinforce the behavior if they see you acting as they are. Instead, take a deep breath.
Tell yourself that they are behaving this way because they are stressed about school and stay calm. They will calm down at some point and start listening to you.
If they get in trouble for being late for school because they decided not to listen to you, that will serve as a good lesson for next time. If you don’t want to sit in detention for being late, don’t give mom a hard time in the morning.
6. Get in Touch with Their Teachers if You Have to
If a situation starts escalating too far out of hand you can always go to their teacher or principal to talk to them. For example, if your child is taking hours on a single homework assignment every night contact their teacher to ask how long it should be taking.
If they are taking an hour on an assignment that should only take twenty, it’s possible that they are struggling and the teacher may be able to suggest solutions. They may even be willing to tutor your child before class every morning.
If your child is stressed because they are being bullied you can go to their principle. They can sit all of the children down to find out what’s going on.
7. Use Visuals
Routines can get pretty overwhelming. That’s when you bring in the visuals. Pick up a cheap dry erase board and write everyone’s schedule on it.
This will keep you organized so you know where your child needs to be and it lowers stress on them because nothing is popping up on them out of the blue. If they have a question about what they need to do this week, all they have to do is look.
How to Help Your Child Manage Their Back to School Stress
Back to school stress is heavy on both parents and children. There are things that you can do to take control of it and manage it.
If things get too overwhelming, talk to their teacher and principal to get a little help. Make things easier on your little one so they can enjoy school. Not fear it.
Raising children can be hard but we can try to take a little of the stress off. Check out our blog for daily parenting advice.