Back-to-school stress: the coping skills Indiana psychologists recommend

The Indiana Psychological Association says going back to school can cause stress for kids and their families.

A press release from the organization says fear of the unknown is often what causes this stress. Clinical psychologist Dr. Natalie Dattilo says new classmates, teachers, and the school building can all be a trigger for children or their parents.

“Back-to-school time for kids and parents can be both exciting and stressful. Adjusting to new routines, new teachers, and new classrooms is a lot of change all at once,” she explains. “For some, this can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking, which makes it a great time to practice healthy coping strategies like breathing, mindfulness, time management, and planning.”

Indiana psychologists have made a list of ways to cope with the back-to-school stress:

  • Keep a routine, and start it before school is back in session.
  • Have family discussions where children can talk about their feelings. Once school starts, continue the talks to hear about their day at school and any issues they may have.
  • Be empathetic by letting your kids know you’re aware of what they’re going through.
  • Get involved in the school and community.

Dr. Dattilo says using these coping skills can help this time of year be less difficult.

“For many, it offers a ‘fresh start’ and a chance to establish new and healthy habits for your family. You could even sit down together and decide on a family goal for the new school year,” she says. “Staying connected is one of the most helpful things we can do to deal with the stress of change.”