Help Kids Manage Back-to-School Blues St. John's NL
St. John's, NL
Help Kids Manage Back-to-School Blues
(NC)-Could back-to-school season be a stressful time in your house? As a parent, you might be relieved to be getting back into the school routine, but your kids could be looking at the upcoming year with a sense of dread. Your child might be feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of new school challenges, a new teacher and friends, and a busy extracurricular schedule.
In the 2008 Health is Cool! survey by Desjardins Financial Security, 91 per cent of parents said they often deal with an overloaded family calendar. Whether it be too much homework, after-school sports commitments or even social activities, recent studies have shown that too many environmental stresses early in a child's life may cause negative physiological effects on their long-term development. The good news is that parents and caregivers are in the best position to teach children life-long stress management skills.
"Any time of transition, including back to school, can create a range of emotions in children, including worry and stress," said Dr. Ester Cole, psychologist and past Chair of the Psychology Foundation of Canada (PFC) and the Ontario Psychological Association. "Helping your children with reliable information and a few simple tips on how they can have control over their everyday lives often helps the family as a whole."
Here are five tips for parents and caregivers to help kids adjust to the back-to-school season:
1. Prepare for school a week before
Go shopping for new school supplies, arrange get-togethers with classmates, practice the route to school, have them review some of the school material from last year and get them back into a school-time sleeping schedule.
2. Write a must know list for the school and teacher
This list will provide important information about your child for the teacher, school office or day care staff. Include information about allergies, illnesses, physical limitations or any other requirements your child might need, like an ideal seating arrangement for your child in the classroom.
3. Watch out for possible signs of stress in your child
Watch for these signs: disturbed sleep, headaches and/or stomach pains, a reduction or increase in appetite, anxiety or poor concentration. Ask your kids if they have any concerns about the new school year, then follow up and provide information, reassurance and problem-solving help.
4. Avoid overloading your child with too many competitive activities outside of school
Sometimes the best cure for stress is to give kids time for activities that we consider non productive as adults such as playing with a dog or building a rocket ship. Doing nothing is fine too!
5. Relax yourself
In the Health is Cool! survey, 89 per cent of parents said they had difficulty finding time to relax, whereas close to 73 per cent admitted that their stress level had increased or stayed the same compared to one year ago. What's the bottom line? Monitor and manage your own stress effectively so they can mirror your good stress management techniques.
If you would like further information on stress management strategies, parenting, or PFC's Kids Have Stress Too! ® program, please visit: www.kidshavestresstoo.org. For more information on the Desjardins Financial Security Health is Cool! survey, visit www.healthiscool.ca.