It’s back-to-school season, which means social media feeds are filled with photos of kids with crisp new clothes and yet-unstained backpacks. They wear smiles of, if not excitement, at least anticipation on their faces.
But for many kids, those smiles belie a different reality – one of anxiety and stress. New routines, new friends, new teachers, plus the pressures of performing in school, can take a toll on kids and teens. In fact, a 2013 report by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that kids between 13 and 17 report higher stress levels than adults!
The number one cause of that stress? School. And it’s not just teenagers who are suffering. Even kids in preschool and kindergarten get anxiety about starting school.
The good news is that as a parent or caregiver, there’s plenty you can do to help ease the transition back to school and deal with any worries that do appear.
- Help them understand what to expect. Back-to-school anxiety largely stems from unpredictability. The more question marks you can erase for your kids, the better. Tour the school, set up playdates or get-togethers with other kids from class, and find out as much as you can about the daily routine. For young kids, consider making a picture schedule to show them what they can expect throughout their day. For older kids, see if you can do a walk-through of the school before classes start so they can see where everything is and do a “dry run.”
- Don’t expect perfection. In that APA report, a common theme among teenagers was stress over grades. While we all want our kids to do their best, it’s also important to remember that no one can perform at 100 percent every day. Helping our kids remember that the dips and valleys are just as instructive as the peaks will help them stress less about striving for perfection.
- Make sleep and nutrition a priority. The mind and body are intricately linked. When the body isn’t getting the sleep and healthy foods it needs, the mind suffers. That can show up as irritability, trouble concentrating, and difficulty dealing with stress. Make sure your kids are getting the appropriate amount of sleep. (Kids Sleep Aid can help here.) Provide them with foods that don’t just fill them, but actually nourish them – real, whole, fresh foods.
- Get moving. Unfortunately, most kids don’t get enough movement at school anymore. And movement is so important for healthy emotions, energy, and the ability to handle stress. When we exercise, our bodies release neurotransmitters called endorphins into the bloodstream. These “feel good” chemicals give kids a much more positive outlook on life, while also sharpening focus and creativity.
- Try homeopathy. Sometimes kids need a little extra help overcoming the anxiety, nervousness, irritability, mood swings, and restlessness that can mark the start of a new school year. Homeopathic remedies (like Kids Stress & Anxiety) can be a game changer for these kids. And unlike conventional pharmaceutical medications, homeopathic medicine has shown for 200+ years to be safe, even when used with other prescription medications.
With these tips, you can turn back-to-school time from a stressful event into an exciting time of growth, learning, and positive new relationships. And if you’re feeling stressed about sending your baby (however big he or she might be!) off to school, try these tips yourself, and you just might start to feel better too.
~ ~ ~
P.S. If you have kids who need help with both stress and sleep, this specially priced Kids Stress & Sleep Bundle will save you money on both!