The beginning of a new school term or year can be a tough time for some high schoolers. Even seemingly confident teens sometimes struggle with the transition from the holidays to school, whether they’re nervous about keeping up with tougher new schoolwork or have fears about being around their classmates. If your teen struggles with anxiety about heading back to school, help them cope with these anxiety-busting tips.
- Focus on the positives. If your teen is stressing about a new term of schoolwork, try to get them involved in a more positive preparation project before school begins. For example, creative teenagers might love picking out pictures and crafts to decorate their lockers with when they go back, while a more academic teen may benefit from a shopping spree at the bookstore. Find activities that help them get prepared while also allowing for some relaxation and enjoyment.
- Discuss extra-curricular options. There may be some fun new options for extra-curricular activities this year that your teen hasn’t had the chance to experience yet. Get a list from the school and go through it with your child – encourage them to pick out activities that sound fun and rewarding. Having a particular activity to look forward to may help them feel more positive about the coming school year overall.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Teenagers that struggle with anxiety should learn to deal with these uncomfortable feelings in a healthy way. As a parent, you have a part to play here. Look up guided meditations to work through together, take them along to your local yoga class, or get outside for a jog together to blow off some steam. Any tool for healthy stress relief will be a priceless gift that your child can use for years to come.
- Talk about it. While your teen may not be comfortable opening up all of the time, it’s important that you’re aware of what exactly is worrying them. If there’s an issue involving bullying at your child’s school, it’s crucial that you know about it so you can take immediate action. Encourage your child to speak freely about their anxieties and fears about going back to school, and offer them a listening ear whenever they’re ready to get something off their chest. You may be able to offer valuable advice and support that could relieve their fears.
- Keep the pressure low. Most teenagers respond badly to pressure of any kind. Even the most seemingly well-adjusted child can become anxious and overwhelmed if they feel that there’s too much stress in their life. While doing well in school is certainly important when it comes to university applications and particular career paths, your teen needs to understand that the world will not end if they don’t excel. Encourage them to do their best, but don’t put unnecessary pressure on them to achieve an impossible standard of perfection.
- Make sure they’re prepared for the term. If your child feels unprepared for the coming school year, they’re likely to feel more worried and stressed about the future. Help them by ensuring that they have all of the school supplies and textbooks on their list from the school, and make a checklist of other non-academic must-haves to cover by the end of the holiday.