Kids have back to school stress? Here’s what to do to combat it

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many students are a few weeks into the school year, but not every child may be adjusted. Students may worry about taking tests, getting along with others or even being away from home. For some, the return to class can come with anxiety.

Laura Abels, a clinical nurse specialist who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, said parents may notice their child’s pattern or attitude change at home as a result of several stresses at school.

“They don’t want to get up, and they don’t want to go to school, and they might be waking up with nightmares,” she said.

Abels said there are three common types of school-related anxiety to look out for, including social anxiety, in which children are afraid to interact with new friends or in a new environment; performance anxiety, when they’re worried about participating in class or taking a test; and separation anxiety, in which students may struggle to be apart from their homes and families.

Abels said parents making sure their child is prepared and organized for each school day can help ease his or her anxiety.

“Laying out your clothes, making sure you have your lunch packed, knowing where your book bag is and where your shoes are… because you don’t want that mad scramble in the morning,” she said.

It is also important to focus on time-management, she added.

“They know what time they need to be getting ready for bed. They know what time they need to be laying down, going to sleep,” she said. “They know how many hours they’re going to be sleeping, and we really recommend eight to 10 hours for kids. And then, they know what time to get out of bed.”

If the anxiety persists, or becomes more severe, Abels suggested that parents should seek professional help for their children.

“You want somebody to be able to help your child open up and talk about their feelings or their issues and then learn to cope with those things,” she said.

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