How to Stop Back-To-School Stress

How to Stop Back-To-School Stress

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AUSTIN – 84,591 students at 129 AISD campuses, and thousands of others at private schools, recently headed back to school. Many are facing the stress of transition, as they graduate to middle or high schools, or transfer into a new district entirely.
And with a graduation rate of 87%, many Austin high school students go on to college; applying carries its own stress, as the pool of applicants has grown dramatically. According to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the number of undergraduate students increased by 37% between 2000 and 2010, to 17.5 million, and is expected to grow to 19.6 million by 2024, all with the same number of undergraduate colleges. Many elite universities now reject up to 95% of applicants. 
The good news: there are four simple practices families can do together to strengthen kids‘ inner resilience. 
William & Teri Schroeder, licensed therapists and founders of Just Mind in northwest Austin, have counseled parents and teens alike on managing transitions and coping with stress. They’ve coached parents on recognizing the signs: “Stress and anxiety in younger kids often shows up as somatic symptoms, like unexplained stomachaches, while for older teens it can look like withdrawing,” said William. 
1. Create Rituals for Sending Your Kids Off, & For Welcoming Them Home  

Teri explains, “Creating a ritual like a verbal exchange, such as taking time to tell your child something different you appreciate about them each morning, or leaving them affirming notes in their lunchboxes, can give them a boost of confidence to ward off social anxiety. Being able to receive them with focus and no distractions for around half an hour after they get home, to hear about their day and anything they may have come up for them, also gives them an emotional ‘safety valve’.” 

2. Let Them Schedule Things to Look Forward To 

“Between assignment deadlines and social pressures, kids can feel boxed-in,” William said. “Holding a family meeting to invite some brainstorming about a few fun things to do together as a family during the school year — something as simple as creating elaborate, themed Halloween costumes together — gives them something to look forward to in the months ahead, separate from the stress of school.”  

3. Use Sleep Interventions 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends kids age 5-12 get 9-11 hours of sleep, and says teenagers need 8-10 hours per night. As Teri explained, “It’s important to setup kidsfor success, which can include keeping a timer to track how long your kids sleep, cutting off “screen time” 2 hours before bed, and creating fun before-bed activities.”

4. Talk to Older Kids About Your Expectations — And Theirs 

Teenagers are used to being reminded of what’s expected of them. But they rarely get the chance to set their own expectations for themselves. Having a meeting at the beginning of the school year to discuss their hopes for themselves, as well as their apprehensions, reminds them that their 

About Just Mind
Just Mind is a boutique counseling center in Austin Texas that aims to remove the stigma from therapy through the environment we create and the unique attitudes of the associates who work with us. We were founded in 2007 and are proudly counseling Austin, TX & surrounding communities: Westlake, Lake Travis, Leander, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Georgetown, and Travis County, Texas. To make an appointment, call 512-843-7665 x2 or make a counseling appointment online, as we offer child counseling and teen counseling. If you liked this post, you can also read Five Ways to Help Kids with Back-To-School Transitions.