Back-to-School: Helping Kids Cope with Anxiety and Stress
As I stare down the looming back-to-school season, I am acutely aware of the coming tornado of emotions threatening my household. Both my daughter (age 8) and son (age 3) struggle with transitions, most notably related to school and preschool. For the first few weeks of summer, my daughter was a ticking time bomb. Just about every conversation ended in her stomping off to her bedroom or crying hysterically on her bed. Similarly, when my son’s preschool transitioned to their summer camp curriculum, he started clinging to me or running and hiding in vacant classrooms during drop-off.
Despite the many years I’ve been dealing with this, I still struggle with helping my kids cope with anxiety and stress. I try to implement all the tips for adjusting to a back-to-school schedule – establish morning & bedtime routines, keep extracurricular activities to a minimum, be extra patient with outbursts, plan “no stress” unstructured family or play time, etc. All those help but I was curious about how others deal with back-to-school transitions and kids’ stress, especially in those moments when they are having a meltdown. Here are some resources I found online.
Tips and Ideas for Helping Kids Cope with Stress
• 8 One-minute Anxiety Relief Tools for Kids Big and Small: This is a great list from the Huffington Post. I love the 4th suggestion about being mindful by using your senses especially for my preschooler. Taking his focus off of the stress trigger is a great way to redirect him and get him to focus on something else during drop-off. His preschool teachers do this really well.
• 3 Fun Mindfulness Exercises for Kids: Speaking of being mindful, I found this fun exercise list to help children focus on the present rather than dwell on what’s bugging them.
• DIY Worry Stones: When my husband and I were dating, he bought me a worry stone because I was always fidgeting with my hands especially when stressed (my kids obviously take after me in this department). I never thought about making them out of clay but I’m going to give it a try.
• Children’s Books about Worrying: If you’ve read some of my previous posts, I’m a huge fan of using children’s books to teach important life lessons. I am thrilled to find this list of children’s books that focus on worry and stress.
• 10 Relaxation Techniques for Children: Music, exercise, laughter…this is a great list of simple things we can do before- and after-school to ease the kids’ transition from home to school or vice versa. For our family, we’ve found blaring classical music in the car helps put my preschooler in the calm zone.
• Practice Yoga with Kids to Improve Patience & Increase Confidence: This blog post includes useful information about how yoga can help kids as well as resources for helping parents get started.
How about you? What tips do you have for helping kids cope with anxiety and stress, especially during back-to-school time?
- E-family news: Time for School – Are You Prepared?
- E-family news: Making Happiness Happen: Building Resilience in Children
- Read more posts about back to school or posts about managing stress from the Family Room bloggers