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Helping Your Child With School Stress

The beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for children, with new teacher and classmates, bigger classrooms, new routines, and more schoolwork. This time can be particularly unnerving and overwhelming for children who are facing major transitions such as starting elementary school or entering middle school. As a parent there are proactive steps you can take to support your child as he or she heads back to school.
  • Express interest and enthusiasm about the start of the school year. If you are confident and excited, your child will be too.
  • If you have visited your child's school, you are one step ahead of the game. If not, make sure you make yourself visible at the school so that your child knows you are comfortable with the school and this will make your child more satisfied.
  • Take time to listen to your child and discuss aspects of the school year that he or she might be worried about. Remember to let your child know that it's normal to feel nervous about the first weeks of school. For parents of younger children, suggest that your child take a special family photo to keep in their desk to make the surroundings more comfortable.
  • Spend time each day talking to your child about what happened in school. Give your child positive feedback about his or her new experiences
  • Praise and encourage your child to become involved with school activities and try new things.
  • Attend school functions and stay involved in your child's education. Children whose parents are more involved with their education have higher achievement, are better adjusted and are less likely to drop out of school.
  • Make a point to learn about how your child develops not just physically, but socially and emotionally as well. If you are aware of what typical behavior and thoughts should be at your child's stage of life, you will be able to tell more readily when things may not be right. Anxiety and stress about a new school year are normal for a child and usually passes with the first month of school If your child continues to seem anxious or stressed, it may be time to seek help. Talk to your child's pediatrician about what you can do as a parent. If problems persist, consider a referral to a trained and qualified mental health professional. Check out our website at www.mentalhealthamericajc.net for more information on stress.

    Here are a few signs of stress:

    • Feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated
    • feeling overwhelmed about what is happening in your daily life
    • changes in eating habits
    • problems concentrating on the tasks at hand
    • feeling nervous about things or anxious about each day
    • having trouble sleeping comfortably
    • problems with memory or just confusing thoughts in your head
    • feeling that you can't overcome difficulties in your life
    • having trouble functioning in your job or personal life


    If you're having any of these symptoms, it's important that you take care of yourself. There are healthy steps you can take to stay well when you're stressed, like connecting to people close to you, getting enough sleep or being physically active. Visit www.LiveYourLifeWell.org for more information. Don't let your feelings go unchecked. Contact your physician for a referral to a local mental health care specialist. More information can be found on stress at www.mentalhealthamericajc.net.


    Contact Us

    Laura Stahl
    P.O. Box 51
    Seymour, IN 47274
    Phone: (812) 522-3480
    Fax: (812) 524-8176
    E-mail: mhajc@cabjackson.org

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