Tips For Managing Back-To-School Stress
- by XpatAthens
- Thursday, 29 August 2019
September is almost here, and most families are shifting from holiday mode into back-to-school mode. A variety of stressful parameters, like earlier bedtimes, demanding homework, and tighter schedules are about to impact children and parents alike.
Read on to find a few actionable tips on keeping back-to-school stress at bay.
Identify the signs of stress in your children
Stress can be expressed in a variety of ways, but because it's often internalized, it can be hard to identify in children. Look for warning signals, such as difficulty in sleeping, head and stomach aches, and changes in behavior like irritability and temper tantrums.
Michele Kambolis, a Vancouver-based child and family therapist, recommends having your kids externalize their stress. Kambolis uses an activity called a "worry wall," where kids write down their worrisome thoughts on sticky notes and paste them up on a wall. This simple action aids children to gain perspective and compartmentalize their stressors.
Listen carefully to your child
To be able to recognize school-related anxiety in your child, you need to open your ears and pay close attention to their particular grievances. If your child is complaining about not wanting to go to school or having difficulty doing their work, try to figure out the cause of the problem.
Is it a teacher issue? A bully? Are they over-scheduled? You will probably be able to address most of these problems either at home or by contacting school administrators.
Get the kids to bed
Children need much more sleep than most people realize. Children in kindergarten up to third grade may require up to 12 hours of sleep per night, and high schoolers need a solid 8 to 10 hours. Address factors that may result in sleep loss, such as demanding schedules, anxiety, or using technology and social media platforms late at night.
Make time for 'PDF'
'PDF' stands for (unstructured) playtime, downtime, and family time. While technology can occasionally be a part of PDF, the idea is that these are moments when the family is not plugged in. It's these face-to-face moments that will help kids decompress and reconnect with themselves, their family, and friends.
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