How to Cope with Back-to-School Stress

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- The start of the school year can be a stressful time for kids and parents, especially for those starting school for the first time.

Amy Marschall, a Psychologist at Sioux Falls Psychological Services wants parents to know if you or your child are having back-to-school anxiety, it’s completely normal.

“It is a very stressful time of year. Back to school is always a transition and even kids who love school, all stress is stress even if it’s positive stress,” said Marschall.

There are some things parents can do to help make the transition easier.

“Children pick up a lot on what their parents are feeling, so if the parent is terrified, the child’s more likely to have anxiety. It’s about working together to bring down the anxiety of both the parent and the child,” said Marschall.

You can also get your child excited about the school year by telling them your favorite memories from when you were in that grade. Also, plan a fun activity after school for the child and you to look forward to together.

Marschall says communication is key. If your child is constantly coming home unhappy–let them know they can talk to you about what’s going on.

“I always tell kids it’s okay to have whatever feelings you’re having and it’s okay to feel sad or be upset that summer’s over or that there’s big change happening right now, we just want to make sure were handling those feelings appropriately.”

Here’s what to do if the problem doesn’t seem to improve.

“Definitely look into some resources. You know what’s going on at school that my child is still so nervous about? Are they having a hard time making friends? Do they feel like they can’t keep up?”

Marschall says counseling might be a good option. Counselors can offer tools to help families work through difficult feelings. Sioux Falls Psychological Services have psychologists available to help parents and kids talk through the new school year.

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