As you know school is starting and you know what happens next feelings of overwhelm, stress, and anxiety. I am going to address some of things you can do as a parent to help your kids be successful this year despite feeling anxious.
Many of us believe that by the time our kids reach high school they have back-to-school anxiety under control. Nope. Many of the teens I work with talk consistently about worrying about returning to school. They worry about a number of issues including classes, being liked, fitting in, finding their way around, what to say, managing their schedule and work load, etc.
Something I see a lot of with the teens I work with and I am sure many of you parents are familiar with too as that when teens get this anxious and uncomfortable they beg and plead to stay home. They actually can make themselves sick.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP…
So bearing in mind that your teens are nervous not only about the first day, but the first few weeks or months here are some tips you can use to help your teen adjust to returning to school:
- Look At the Basics
Have a routine. Start about 1-2 weeks before school starts. Get their sleeping back on track for a school schedule. Eat breakfast! No one copes well when they are hungry. Pack your book bag the night before, decide on your outfit, etc.
- Avoid reassuring instead focus on problem solving
Parents this doesn’t mean solve the problem for them. However, try to avoid statements like everything will be fine. Your teen doesn’t believe this and it can feel invalidating. Instead try to ask them problem solving questions, such as, If (worst thing) happened what would you do? Use things they identified as being anxious about (try not to come up with your own things, this may increase fears).
3. Encourage them to breathe
Practicing their coping skills will help them feel more confident when school starts. Try making this part of your house-hold routine. Role model using this as a skill or practice it as a family before or after dinner.
If your teen needs support with coping skills for returning to school contact me here to learn more.