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Stress - The Back-to-School Blues

Aug 22, 2008
The back-to-school blues can affect everyone from kindergarteners to college students. Perhaps your kindergartener is worried about making friends, or your college student is anxious about making the grade. Back-to-school worries can affect both straight A students and those who are barely making it through.

First of all, it is important to determine whether your child is suffering from school-related stress. Is he or she complaining of stomach aches or headaches? Does he or she have a negative outlook about the start of school?

Is he or she grumbling about heading back to class? Is your child a loner? Is he or she reluctant to purchase school supplies? If you answered "yes" to any of the preceding questions, your child could be exhibiting signs of stress related to returning to school.

However, it is entirely possible that these signs are symptoms of something else. That's why it is so important for your son or daughter to have a check-up with a pediatrician before heading back to school. The physical examination could reveal information about your child's health that is critical for his or her overall well-being.

If, however, the check-up indicates that your child may be reacting to stress, you'll need to engage in some stress management techniques. The most important of these is to have a heart-to-heart talk with your child. See if your child can articulate his or her fears. If communication is a problem, you might consider having your child draw a picture of his or her school. Sometimes, you can tell a great deal from a child's drawing. In your discussions, try to answer your child's concerns as openly and honestly as you can.

For instance, if your child has worries about a particular teacher, consider making an appointment with the teacher so that you can hash out concerns. If your child is entering school for the first time, make sure that he or she receives a tour of the school. A little bit of information can go a long way in addressing your child's concerns.

Reassure your child that you will love him or her no matter what his or her grades are, but also apprise your child of your expectations. Make sure that you let your child know that you expect him or her to perform his or her personal best each day. This can help prime your child for success, while letting him or her know that you will always provide support.

Another helpful strategy is to take your child on a back-to-school shopping spree. Make sure that he or she is intimately involved in picking out folders and pencil cases. Such a shopping spree can help to equate school with fun. You might also consider taking your child on a trip to find a new wardrobe. Dressed for success, your child may be better able to cope with the demands of school.

If your child's stress level is severe, you might consider taking him or her to a child psychologist. This is an individual who is trained to listen to a child and to counsel him or her. Going for counseling isn't a sign of weakness it is a sign of strength.

You may find that your child is happier in the long run after going for some counseling sessions. You might also consider family counseling if it seems as if your entire clan is under stress. For referrals for a counselor, you might want to consult with your family physician or local mental health agency.

sometimes fail to realize how stressful school can be to a child. There's the issue of social relationships, scholastic performance, and extra-curricular activities. A child must please the teacher, the principal, the parent, and friends. It can be a great deal to handle, especially if the child is quite young.

By setting realistic expectations, offering a shoulder to cry on, and a willingness to offer some problem-solving techniques, you can help to guarantee your child's success in school and eliminate some of the stress that he or she will experience.

If the child is starting a new school, you may have to go the extra mile in convincing him or her that you will provide unconditional love. As long as you keep the door to communication open, you and your child should have a healthy and productive school year.
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