Back-to-school stress may be hurting your child - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Back-to-school stress may be hurting your child

Experts say parents should try to get their child to open up to them. (Source: WAFF) Experts say parents should try to get their child to open up to them. (Source: WAFF)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

The new school year can mean new friendships, new learning experiences, and new challenges.

That may lead to back-to-school stress. It can be hardest on students making a transition from elementary to middle school.

Experts say parents should try to get their child to open up to them.

Missey Nichols is an guidance counselor at Cedar Ridge Middle School. She has a lot of experience.

"It has been my observation that the calmer a parent can stay, it really, really helps the child," Nichols said. "And sometimes if you have two parents, one parent may may not be calm about it and the other may, so it's more helpful if the one that is calm kind of walks the child through what to expect."

She says for the child, it's often the fear of the unknown.

"Fear of what is going to happen, fear of where are my classes going to be, fear of who are my teachers going to be, fear of am I going to have friends, fear of what is the routine going to be like," she explained. "Those types of fears is where that stress stems from."

But she says there are tips for parents to help. Start by gently reassuring your child you understand they feel anxious.   

"Let's go up and walk around the school. We may not know exactly where your classes are, but we can walk through the school. Let's look at the lockers.  Let's practice with the lockers. Let's talk about the friends you may have in your class."

Discuss extracurricular activities, and maybe invite a prospective friend over.    

"Sometimes you may have to reach out to some students you don't know," Nichols advised.

And, she says, don't be afraid to ask for help.   

"We can give parents suggestions of things that we can do," she said.

Sometimes it can be the student's first encounter with a bully, in which case, you need to advise the best way of handling the experience.

"You want to stop what you're doing. You want to think about it. You need, to many times, walk away from the situation," she said.

She says then seek an adult to help them walk their way through the problem.

If the student is still having some problems, make sure that you go to the school and ask for help. 

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