Cooling down back-to-school stress

August 23, 2012 4:43:58 PM PDT
Sorry, but many schools in the area open in just a few days.

Many kids may be anxious about the new year. And parents may be stressed too.

New schools, new teachers, and juggling the morning and afternoon schedules can make parents edgy.

Psychologists say you can't erase all the stress, but you can manage it.

Having a plan in place before the first day helps.

Psychologist Mike McKee, Ph.D., says, "Here's the time we're going to leave. If we're going to catch the bus, where are they going to catch the bus. If I am driving them here is the time we're leaving. Here's the time you have got to be ready. And the division of labor between the parents."

And you should WRITE DOWN your plan.

Experts say that you're changing the patterns you developed over the summer, so it will take a little while for everyone to adjust.

As for kids, parents should watch for the subtle signs of stress:

*Trouble sleeping

*Loss of appetite

*Complaints of more physical pains, such as stomach aches or headaches

*More irritability

Child pscyhologist Kate Eshleman suggests, "I would encourage you to go to the school. Try to see if you can meet the teacher and walk around the classroom. Figure out where the locker is going to be. The more prepared they feel, the less stress they will experience."

Dr. Eshelman says identifying a buddy can help, too.

And you might want to share similar experiences you had at the start of a new school year.


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