Have No Fear, Back to School is Here!

It’s that time again! Parents rejoice as you prepare your kids for a happy and successful school year. This can be both an exciting and stressful time for parents and kids alike as they anticipate the first ring of the school bell. As parents, we do our best for our children and try to provide them with the necessary tools for success. However, sometimes we can easily overlook the non-tangible tools for their tool box. Besides the list of basic school supplies we dart to Wal-Mart & Target for the last night before school starts, we should be mentally and emotionally preparing our children for the starting school year as well. Start by creating a dialogue with your children. Talk about general interests, worries, and goals. Show them their opinions and feelings are valid and that you are actively listening. Ways to promote conversations with kids:

Ask open-ended questions For ex.: “Tell me about your favorite class so far this year. What makes that one better than the rest?”

Respond attentively

Use nonjudgmental tone  

Create environment promoting open dialogue

Go out for a parent/child meal 

Or a walk around the neighborhood

Or even relaxing in the pool/ at the beach

The key is to engage in an activity of pleasure to both parent and child that can be achieved easily while maintaining conversation. You will be amazed at what your child is willing to divulge when he or she feels you have a genuine appreciation for their thoughts and feelings. Maintaining open conversations with your children can help to build their self-image and boost their self-confidence. Both of these aspects are crucial for coping with and overcoming obstacles they are likely to encounter during the school year such as:

Bullying & cyberbullying

Establishing friendships

Maintaining friendships

Creating healthy boundaries

Test anxiety

Homework/project deadlines

Some other important aspects to maintaining your child’s mental and emotional health involves appropriate nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep. By cutting back on unnecessary junk foods, and making it routine to have an appropriately proportioned breakfast each morning, your child can maintain energy throughout the school day. If possible, having your children involved in sports and/or extracurricular activities will promote healthy blood circulation, create euphoric endorphins, and ultimately help in building self-esteem and self-confidence. Sleep is also crucial and can heavily impact how children react and handle different situations. Getting adequate amounts of sleep will also increase overall mood and disposition with your children. Just as each child is unique in personality, they will also have their own preferred ways to deal with the stresses at school. Talk to your children about their concerns and explore the ways they are currently dealing with them. Anxious symptoms and stress can manifest in many ways. Be observant of aspects such as:

Frequent headaches

Stomach/indigestion issues

Tearfulness

Abnormal isolation

Disinterest in previously pleasurable activities

Significant changes in appetite

Change in sleep pattern

Self-harm

If you notice any of these changes in your child, which is not otherwise explained by a medical condition, give us a call! 

The therapists at Southwest Florida Counseling Center have experience working with children and teens dealing with a plethora of concerns and issues. We can also help parents on developing and maintaining healthy relationships with their kids. Best wishes for a happy & healthy school year!  At SWFCC we take most insurance benefits, Medicare and Medicaid.  We are accepting new clients. Call today to schedule an appointment with one our qualified professional counselors. For more information call 941-391-1067 or visit our website at www.swfcc.net.