Coping with the Back-to-School Blues

September 04, 2014 at 2:02 PM

The days of carefree summer vacation are drawing to a close. Many students will head back to class in the coming weeks, and this transition often comes with added stress. There is of course the financial impact of buying new clothes and supplies, but what about the psychological impact of beginning a new school year? If you or your child has concerns about going back to class this fall, here are some tips provided by the American Psychological Association (APA) to help you get by.   

  1. Get back to a sleep routine: It can be hard to go from the blissful days of sleeping in to having a set bedtime and wake time routine. One way to manage this transition is to start preparing a few days before the first day of class. You can help your child adjust (and you too, if needed) by beginning a modified sleep/wake routine up to a week before school starts. Set a bedtime and a wake time and adjust by a half hour each day until you are back on track with the school routine.
  2. Get organized:  Try getting things together that will be needed for the first day at least a few days beforehand. Gather folders, notebooks, snacks, etc. together in backpacks at least a few days early. This will make it easier to head out the door on the first day.
  3. Prepare for a change in scenery if needed: If your child will be attending a new school this year, you may want map out your desired route ahead of time so that you aren’t doing this on the potentially stressful first day of class. If your child will be taking the bus or will be driven to school, you may also want to practice timing it so that you won’t have to hurry or potentially be late on the first day.
  4. Plan for transition: If your student will be starting a new school this year, it’s also important to talk to them about any anxiety they may be having about being in a new environment or making new friends. It is natural to be concerned about fitting in, and you can talk to your child about their fears in a calm and empathetic way. Encourage them to branch out and meet new people, and remind them of other times that they handled transition and what might have worked well for them in the past.
  5. Follow up: It is important to check in with your child regularly and provide academic and emotional support throughout. Get to know what your student is learning and try to stay on top of class assignments to keep stress from building up.
  6. Ask for help: If at any point you feel that your child needs extra assistance, don’t hesitate to talk to their teacher about additional academic support. And if at any point you or your child begin to feel overwhelmed this school year, don’t hesitate to call VOBH for an appointment with a therapist if needed.

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