Going Back to Class!
Where did the summer go? Somehow, we’ve already rolled into back-school-season, and it’s time to get in that academic mode again!
As the back-to-school season begins, the excitement of new classes, friends, and experiences fills the air. However, beneath this excitement lies the often overlooked challenges that many children, tweens, and teens face: the emotional and psychological toll that school transitions can take, stress from social pressures, a lack of coping skills, an uptick in behavioral issues, silent struggles with things like anxiety or ADHD. Perhaps, your child is transitioning to a new school, which can be the cause of even more anxiety!
The return to the classroom, whether after a long break or the start of a new academic year, can trigger a range of emotions, from anticipation to anxiety. This is why prioritizing mental health and therapy for young individuals is more crucial than ever. In this blog, our professional mental health care therapists and social workers who specialize in working with youth are here to offer you tips to help your child and family get into back-to-school mode and thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.
7 Tips for Successfully Heading Back to School:
1.“I’d advise parents to help their kids follow consistent mealtime, homework, and bedtime routines and help their kids stay organized by creating a quiet study space at home where they can do their homework. They could also help their kids use a calendar or planner where they can write down due dates and keep track of homework, projects, club meetings, and/or sporting events. The school year can be busy and hectic, but following routines and staying organized will help reduce students’ stress and anxiety.” – Sara Wisneski, LPC
2. “I encourage people to create a routine with the after-school time – give kids a break to unwind after school before starting homework or dinner time. Also manage expectations for kids who are involved in sports or other after school activities. Getting kids into somewhat of a routine (especially with bedtime) in the few weeks before school starts is also important, as it helps ease the transition. Everyone is going to be overwhelmed through the first week. Give grace to kids (and yourself) as you all get back into the swing of things!” – Joanne Klysen, MA, LPC, Foundations’ Director of Community Based Counseling
3. “Healthy sleep hygiene is essential to physical and mental health. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time allows the individual to start each day off with enough energy to manage whatever may come! It’s hard to learn and have fun when you are tired!” – Lana Cheslock, LSCW, Foundations’ Director of Clinical Services & Operations
4. “I have two pieces of back-to-school advice! 1). Don’t overbook your children/yourself. Down time supports mental and physical wellbeing. 2). All kids experience back-to-school anxiety. For parents, encouraging conversation surrounding your child’s worries normalizes back to school “butterflies,” as well as encouraging you child to talk about mental health.” -Katie Szerkins, Resident Mental Health Therapist for Foster Care
5. “Expect them to be exhausted at the end of the day. It’s a big change in structure and stimulation and their brains are fried. Behaviors and emotions will be up. Allow them space to do what they need after school (couch time, nap, TV show, extra snacks, snuggles) and keep expectations low. Plan ahead for easy dinners (crock pot, frozen pizza w/a bag salad, grilled cheese and soup) so your time can be spent giving them what they need after school vs. cooking. Plan ahead for what is needed for packing lunches so that is quicker at night. Baggy up the fruits and veggies on the weekend, buy the mini bags of goldfish crackers, string cheese, etc. so you can throw a quick, healthy lunch together. Save time and pick out outfits for the week on Sunday!” – Jess Drews, Fox Valley Regional Foster Care Director and licensed Social Worker
6. “Check in with your kiddos regularly! If it is not every day, then at least every couple days during the week. Be consistent with it, as kids need you more than they are leading on! A simple check in about his/her day can make a difference. For instance, “What was one good day part of your day and one not-so-good thing?” This simple act encourages self-awareness, aids in their connection to you, shows that they matter and you care, and encourages the stability of counting on people who care for them in their lives.” – Sandra Dercks, LPC
7. “Encourage your kids to talk to their teachers! Encourage your kids to personally introduce themselves to each of their teachers at some point early in the year, before any problems may come up. If your kids tend to have problems with late work (for example), have them let their teachers know in advance. For instance, kids could tell their teacher that they’re excited about having a clean slate and doing better this year, that they know late work has been a problem and they are actively working on it, and that they will be working hard to keep that from becoming an issue. A simple conversation helps educators be aware of your needs, goals, and learning styles. In this case, when/if things DO become a problem, the teacher will be more likely to give gentle reminders earlier on, AND kids will feel more comfortable approaching them to ask for help. Yes, the teachers know everyone’s names because of role list, but this conversation can help the teacher connect your child/tween/teen’s name and face with positivity!” – Tyler Robertson, LPC
Here to Support You!
If you find your child, tween, or teen is struggling, whether at school or not, mental health therapy can offer them a safe space to talk about their feelings, develop new emotional/coping skills, and thrive! If you feel your child may benefit from seeing one of our licensed mental health counselors, please call our compassionate client engagement team at 920-437-8256 to schedule an appointment. We love serving you and your family! Learn more about our mental health services and counselors by visiting our website: https://wearefoundations.org/mental-health/services/.
We hope these tips help you feel more prepared for back-to-school season! Wishing you and your loved ones a very successful school year.
Until Next Time,
Maggie, Grants & Content Manager
Reviewed by the above professionals.