Be aware: “going-back-to-school stress” is real and can start to creep into you and your young person’s daily lives long before school starts back up.
For a young person starting a new school year, there can be leftover memories of a not-so-pleasant previous year that can start building and creating stress and anxiety. Even for those starting at a new school, transitioning from year 6 to year 7 high school, or for a young person preparing to leave after year 10, or the dreaded year 12 HSC – all of these major events can add additional stress for the whole family.
While you cannot eliminate the stress, you can help yourself and your young person to manage some of the signs and symptoms. Stress and anxiety are two areas that can start to manifest and begin affecting a young person’s mental and physical health. Worry of the unknown, change in appetite or sleeping patterns, becoming easily irritated or angry for no reason, are some of the early warning signs.
Here are a few ways to help you and your young person get ahead of some of these stressors.
Stay positive about the upcoming changes ahead. Our young people can pick up on our stresses and if we can remain positive this may help them approach the changes differently.
Get yourself and your young person into a good sleep pattern before school starts back up, don’t wait until the first night before school starts to get into a healthy pattern of going to bed early enough and at the same time every night.
If the school is new to your young person, take a visit before the first day of school so they can get a chance to familiarise themselves. Try and take as much of the unknown out of the picture.
Talk to each other about what they might be feeling or thinking. Don’t invalidate their thoughts or feelings, but help them make sense of what is going on.
If you are concerned about your young person, there is help available for both you and them through a number of different organisations.
Remember there are many organisations who can support your friend or family member through these difficult times. You don’t need to do this alone.
Lifeline – 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/contact-us
Parents line – 1300 1300 52 www.parentline.org.au
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au
Mental Health Line - 1800 011 511
headspace - 02 4824 4944 www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/goulburn/