By Savanah Klee
The school year is an exciting time for many, as students develop different skills, grow friendships and take on new life experiences.
It can also be a time of uncertainty as students navigate stressors such as ongoing homework deadlines and challenging social interactions. Although the school year has just begun, children may already be experiencing greater feelings of stress and anxiety. Over time, these troubles may begin to affect children’s productivity and readiness to learn or lead to new or heightened behavioral issues.
Consider these five tips to help set your students up for success throughout the school year:
Maintain a regular school-day routine
Juggling a full day of school, various sports practices, homework and sleep is challenging. Yet, maintaining a consistent and simple routine throughout the week is important for the mental well-being of kids and parents alike. Create a daily schedule that works for your family, setting aside time for exercise and family activities while limiting screen time. A mindful bedtime routine and proactive steps like laying out clothes and preparing lunches the night before can also help ensure your child starts their day on the right foot.
Talk with your children about any worries or anxieties
Parents must create an environment at home where children can feel comfortable talking about their feelings and any issues they may be facing. Showing interest in your child’s day-to-day experiences can help build open lines of communication. Listen when they share concerns, even when small, and ensure their feelings are validated.
Practice healthy coping strategies
Life can be stressful, but developing healthy coping mechanisms can help assess emotions and navigate forward with mental well-being in mind. When faced with a stressful situation, encourage your child to take a deep breath, go for a bike ride or listen to calming music to help ease tension and lower stress levels. Parents must also practice what they preach. Remaining calm and staying positive in difficult situations help set the tone for how your child responds to stressors.
Watch for concerning signs
Parents should be mindful of warning signs. Difficulty sleeping or increased need for sleep, behavioral outbursts, increased irritability, loss of appetite and declining school performance all can point to more serious problems like anxiety, depression and more. While it can be challenging to determine what’s typical behavior for a child, monitoring for increased or new behaviors can help identify issues that may need to be discussed with a health professional.
Seek professional help when needed
It’s critical for parents to know that you don’t have to parent alone. There is a network of resources available to you and your family that can help you navigate mental health challenges and establish a plan to address concerns and achieve greater well-being.
Parents have the power to help their children take a mindful approach to mental health, addressing challenges head-on and working together to develop healthy responses to life’s stressors. Let’s make mental health a priority this school year.
About the Author
Savannah Klee is a registered mental health counselor intern for Elite DNA Behavioral Health, a comprehensive behavioral and mental health service provider with more than 25 locations across Florida. For more information, visit EliteDNA.com.
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