Welcome Back to School, Welcome Back Stress?
Being a parent is demanding. Parents have a lot on their plate: career, bills, health, child-rearing, to name a few. As the new school year is under way, parents may face many stressors such as paying for back-to-school supplies or tuition, worrying about their child(ren) succeeding with a vigorous academic schedule, and managing work and household responsibilities while balancing the needs of their child(ren).
While the parents attempt to manage their own stressors, sometimes the stressors their child(ren) could be facing get overlooked. It is very important for parents to know possible psychosocial stressors in their children’s lives. Here are some stressful situations a child may face this school year:
- Worrying about academic performance
- Social interactions
- Peer pressure
- Being involved in many extracurricular activities
- Playing sports
- Influence of alcohol and drugs
- Parental pressure to perform academically or athletically
Children are extremely adaptable and can cope with change. Parents can help their child(ren) cope by providing a structured setting that offers resilience and encouragement to express feelings and thoughts about the stressors occurring at school.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Get into an organized routine. Establish a proper sleep routine before school starts. This will ease the difficulty in waking up early. If this is something that has not been done already, implement it immediately. Organize things at home -- have backpacks, lunches, and homework completed and ready to go -- for a smooth morning. Also, establish a schedule for homework, dinner, extracurricular activities, and play. This will make everyone’s life easier!
- Talk with your child(ren). Ask questions about their stressors associated with school. Figure out their worries or fears and provide support and encouragement.
- Empathize with your child(ren). Let them know that change and challenges are normal in life. Express understanding and support for the situations they may be going through. Tell them stories of your childhood to help normalize their feelings and thoughts about their stressors.
- Get to know your local community members and teachers. Having knowledge of the community and school will help with resources, tools, and support for the family and your child(ren). Ask questions to gather information about any stressors your child may be experiencing. Ask for support and collaborate with community leaders and teachers if needed to help your child(ren) be successful for the school year.
If the stressors of school are too difficult for the family to handle or cope with, one solution could be to seek advice from a mental health professional, such as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Kacee Tannenbaum, LCSW is the President/ Clinical Director of Provide 4, Inc.