Back to school means stress for students, educators, and caregivers. And these days worries such as shootings and bullying add additional stress to longstanding concerns such as homework and whom to sit with at lunch — in some cases, for kids as young as preschoolers. Studies show stress growing with each generation. But there are ways parents and others can help students cope and be happier.
Positive social connections are thought to be key in helping kids deal with stress, whether with peers, teachers, coaches, or adult role models. Parents should create opportunities for socializing, such as through extracurricular activities — maybe a sport or hobby club. Talk to other parents and communicate with teachers to encourage interactions and friendships.
Being active is a top way to reduce stress for anyone, at any age. Participating in gym class, joining a sports team, or even exercising at home as a family promotes stress management skills. Try for a family walk or bike ride, seek out a free yoga practice on YouTube, enroll a child in extracurricular activities, or seek free physical activity programs through school.
Lack of sleep robs the body of its ability to handle stress and anxiety. Make sure a child is getting the recommended amount of sleep for their age each night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides sleep guidelines if you are unsure how many hours your child should log.