Tips For a Less Stressful Start to a New School Year

Montclair Schools District-Wide Family Dinner NightWith the summer coming to an end, there is a lot of anxious excitement over the beginning of the school year. Whether you are a parent of a child entering school, a child going into elementary, middle, or high school, or even to college, this time of year can cause stress.

Here are some helpful stress reducing ideas to consider before school starts:

  • Verbalize your worries.  Ask yourself how you are feeling about the new year.  What are you excited about?  What parts are you nervous about?  Talk to someone about these things.  Many times we make things out to be larger than they are.  Once we put those worries out into the universe they become smaller and more manageable.
  • Visit a new campus.  For younger kids that might mean attending an orientation event that the school or PTA may officially organize. Explore different areas or play at the playground.  For college students, some schools will organize a pre-school activity such as camping or a volunteering.  This is a great way to get familiar with your school before it begins.
  • Organize your school supplies.  Make a list of all the supplies you think you will need to start the year.   Perhaps you create a system where one folder is for assignments
  • Communicate and discuss.  Sit down as a family and talk to one another about what the expectations are for the year.  Things to consider would include wake-up times, how everyone is getting to school, what courses and activities are “a must” and what activities are for. Allow each person ample time to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • Relax, enjoy and reflect.  Enjoy time as a family, alone and with friends, before school and extra-curricular activities kick in. Plan something fun that you have wanted to do all summer.  This is a great time to make sure you charge your batteries!

The following are the ingredients for a healthy start to school:

  • Regular and consistent sleep to recharge and refresh.
  • A balanced, healthy meal plan to nourish and create energy.
  • Physical activity to release nervous energy and build stamina.
  • Organization and cleanliness to prepare and plan ahead.
  • Friendship and family contact to balance work and fun.

Tessa Vining, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Therapist at Mindsoother Therapy Center in Livingston, specializing in individual, family and group therapy with adolescents, young adults and adults.

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