Returning to school has always had kids (and parents!) feeling a mix of emotions. But kids today have even more emotions regarding school due to an ongoing pandemic, an increase in anxiety and depression and societal pressures to perform well academically and athletically. With so many expectations, yet a lack of essential life skills, many students feel unprepared for a new school year.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help your child ease into a new school year while also protecting their mental health. We share some of our best tips below.
1. Establish a Consistent Routine
Just as adults feel more confident and secure when their daily activities are predictable and familiar, so do children. If you weren’t following a consistent routine in the summer, now is your time to establish one.
Focus on sending your child to bed at the same time every night, and waking them up at the same time every morning. With a consistent schedule, you should also be able to build in regular time for self-care, relaxation and one-on-one time with your child.
2. Give Your Child a Safe Space to Talk
Each day, you should spend a few minutes talking to your child about their day. This will help you stay in the loop regarding their school days, while also giving them a safe space where they can talk about more serious issues like bullying. Listen more and talk less. This will allow your child to lead the conversations and discuss the things that are important to them.
3. Recognize that Some Anxiety is Normal
It’s normal to have some anxiety regarding returning to school. Help your child navigate these anxious feelings by teaching them positive coping mechanisms like mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises.
How do you know when anxiety is not normal in a young child? If your child’s anxiousness is interfering with their daily life, then it’s probably time to consider anxiety treatment in Princeton NJ. Signs to look for include trouble concentrating, not sleeping or eating and constantly worrying or having negative thoughts.
4. Show Your Child How to Handle Stress
Be mindful of how you handle stress. Do you get upset or irritable, or do you try to hide it? Your child will learn a lot about how to handle stressful situations from you, so show them your own coping strategies. This helps your child to recognize that it’s okay to not be okay all the time. What’s most important is how they respond to stress.
5. Emphasize Self-Care
When your child doesn’t feel physically well, you take them to the doctor. The same is true for when they’re not feeling mentally well – you may need to enlist some help. You can access mental health therapy in New Jersey if you feel your child is not adjusting well or handling stress well. Getting ahead of these issues can help give your child the best start in life.
6. Give Your Child Time to Adjust
It takes time to adjust to a new school year and routine, so give you and your child grace. Try not to overload their schedule with extracurricular activities just yet. Let them ease into the school year and then try adding an activity or two as time goes on. Right now, the best thing is to focus on helping your child make successful transitions from home to school, and vice versa.
Child Mental Health Services in Princeton New Jersey
CTRLCare Behavioral Health is wishing everyone a safe, healthy and productive school year! If you find yourself in need of child mental health services in Princeton NJ, contact our team today. We have a number of treatment services for youth that address mental health, eating disorders, social media addiction and more.