5 Tips to Reduce Back to School Stress
September can be a very stressful time of the year for many students. The thoughts of returning to a more regimented schedule full of obligations can create a lot of anxiety. The following suggestions are ways that you can help your son or daughter reduce back to school stress.
1. Start the year with an organized and clutter-free bedroom.
The ability to focus, be productive, sleep better and learn efficiently is effected by one’s environment. Take some time to develop a plan with your son or daughter to organize, declutter and clean their bedroom. If their personal space is a place where they can relax it can go a long ways to reducing their overall stress and anxiety.
2. Prepare a Distraction-Free Study Space
Having a designated place that is free of distractions allows a student to concentrate and learn more efficiently. Too often students use the kitchen table where pets, siblings and dinner preparations can cause constant distractions. For some students this may not pose problem. If you notice that your son or daughter is having difficulties focusing then you may want to try another location.
Set-up a desk in an area free of talking, pets, siblings, toys, TV screens, phones and clutter. Ideally, the desk should be only their designated work space where they can keep extra school supplies; such as paper, pens, pencils, calculator, highlighters, white-out / erasers and pencil crayons.
For many students, having a white board or / and a large calendar on their wall where they can write due dates, to-do lists and inspirational quotes can help them stay organized and on-track.
3. Plan Ahead and Make Improvements
Have a family meeting to discuss what worked well last year and what improvements can be made. Develop a plan and write it down. Post it in a visible location to keep everyone on track.
Possible discussion topics:
- How can morning routines be improved?
- What learning strategies were used last year? How can they be improved?
- What can be done differently when it comes to completing homework and studying?
- Was there enough time for homework, friends, exercise, family, hobbies etc…?
4. Discuss Extra-Curricular Activities
It is very easy for schedules to get filled-up with sports, music, art and tutoring. Develop a tentative weekly schedule with your son or daughter. Block in time for extra-curricular classes, tutoring, homework, school, free-time and sleep. Creating a weekly routine and writing it on a white board wall calendar above their study space will help students prioritize activities and become more organized.
5. Slowly Introduce the New Sleep Schedule
A lack of sleep can effect the ability to focus and reach one’s full potential. Children ages 6 to 12 require nine to eleven hours of sleep and teenagers require eight to ten hours of sleep.
It is easy to not follow a sleep schedule during the summer. Making this change in the fall can be a difficult adjustment. Try introducing the new sleep schedule a week prior to school starting.
Screen time within one hour of going to bed effects the melatonin production which tells the body that it is not ready to sleep. Encourage sleep routines that involve quiet play, reading, yoga / meditation, bath and journal writing.