3 Tips for Managing Back-to-School Stress

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The fall is a transitional time, as the summer sun gives way to cool autumn temperatures and kids head back to the classroom.

Parents and kids go through this change every year, but that doesn’t mean the back-to-school routine is always a smooth one. If back-to-school stress is a concern for you or your child, these three tips can help manage it.

1. Spot the Signals

Anxiety and stress can manifest differently in children than in adults, so it may not always be obvious if your child is struggling.

Knowing what to look for can help you identify stress and support your son or daughter.
Sudden changes in appetite, stomach aches, difficulty sleeping and irritable outbursts may all be red flags that there’s something going on.

2. Plan for Sleep

A small thing you can do to help mental health is to help your children develop healthy sleep habits. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children up to age 9 may need as much as 12 hours of sleep each night. High schoolers typically require eight to 10 hours. Set a schedule for sleep and help your children to maintain it. Encourage kids to unplug from computers or mobile devices at least an hour before bed.

3. Count on Quality Time

These days, it seems everyone has a hectic schedule. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your child has unstructured time each day where he or she can just relax and play, ideally without electronics. Family dinners or other activities that include the whole family are also vital ways to help support your child’s mental health.