Transitioning from vacation and having lots of free time to the pressures and challenges of school isn’t easy on anyone. All kids, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, experience back to school stress to some degree.
The problem is, when no one has the time to acknowledge how stressful it can be going back to school or the expertise to help kids cope with the experience, back to school stress can quickly get out of control. It can be a thin line between stress and full-fledged anxiety, as well as other mental health issues.
Find out how to recognize signs of overstressed kids and teens and why professional therapy can help.
When Is Back to School Stress Too Much?
Every kid has rough days, especially at the beginning of the school year or when they go back to school after a holiday break. With a few simple techniques, parents and other caregivers can watch out for signs of stress.
• Talk to your kids about how they feel. It doesn’t matter as much what happened in school, who did what, or what grade their teacher gave them on their math test. Focus on their feelings and internal experiences rather than the external events. Not only can this help them to externalize the stress, but it can also open up the line of communication between you and your kids. The more comfortable they are talking to you, the less likely they are to shut down when things are really rough.
• Watch for changes in sleep habits. If your child is still up reading a book when you head to bed, they may be having trouble falling asleep. Likewise, if they seem tired even when they’re going to bed at a good time, it may be that they aren’t sleeping well.
• Physical problems can also be a sign of too much stress. Headaches, stomach aches, and a poor appetite can all point to a difficult situation.
Why Professional Therapy Can Make a World of Difference
The reality is, few parents have a background in child psychology. And, few of us know what to do when our kids are really sad – in fact, nothing makes a parent feel more helpless than not knowing how to help.
But, you don’t have to have all the answers. A professional therapist can give your child tools and coping strategies that can help them move forward. Also, sometimes kids don’t open up to their parents, so they never get the chance to discuss their feelings with an adult. A skilled therapist who knows how to work with children and teens will ensure your child knows they are in a safe space and can speak freely.
By working with a professional, your child will have the chance to regain their confidence – and actually look forward to going to school.
At East Bay Relationship Center, we work with kids on an individual level and with families. We understand how stressful life can be for kids today, no matter what age. You don’t have to have a difficult home life to feel like you can’t cope with life – for kids, just trying to keep up with homework, social challenges, and high academic expectations can be enough to make them want to crawl back under the covers every time their alarm goes off in the morning.
Let us help your child take back control of their feelings so they can get the most out of every day. Reach out to us to set up an appointment. We offer therapy for teenagers and are more than happy to help with younger kids too.