How to Help Your Teenager With Back to School Anxiety

There are only a few more weeks before school is back in session. Though you’ve likely started shopping for items they’ll need, you can’t help but notice that your teenager is acting especially strange. Perhaps they’ve become silent and more isolated than usual or they get easily irritated when you start talking about going back to school. Whatever it is, you know it’s not normal and you want to help. 

Normal Jitters or a Cry for Help?

Everyone knows that the start of the school year always brings about a bit of anxiety. Yet, for teenagers, it can be on an entirely different level. They’re worried about the pressures of fitting in, the growing demands of academic success, doing a good job for their parents, and somewhere in the midst of all that, finding themselves. It’s a lot. And, if there are other issues going on socially or academically, your teen may be feeling the pressure of that as well. 

While some back to school anxiety is normal, for some teenagers, the anxiety continues. They might become extra irritable, extremely tired (or struggling to sleep), they might avoid hanging with friends and start spending more time alone, some, even turn to drug and alcohol use to cope. 

Ways to Help Your Teen

If your teen has reached that level of extreme it is important to get them adolescent treatment in California for substance abuse and/or mental health problems. Otherwise, consider the advice below to help your teen adjust to going back to school this year: 

Talk to Your Teen

If your teen really seems beside themselves about the upcoming school year, talk to them. Speak from a place of love and find out what’s got them so nervous. Express that it is normal to be nervous, but if there is something bigger going on, you’re here to help. Do not force the issue, however, but simply be open to whatever information they offer.

Visit the School

If your teen is just going to high school or has recently been transferred to a new school, the anxiety may simply be the fear of not knowing what to expect. Contact the school office to find out if you and your teen can take a tour of the premises and meet some of the staff prior to the start of the year. 

Consider a Tutor

Once you reach high school, the academic demands seem to triple. This can often have your teen trying to absorb tons of information in just a few short weeks. If they’re concerned about making the grade or falling behind, ask if they’d like to get a tutor. They can start meeting with the tutor now and throughout the school year to help them with, especially troubling subjects.

Talk to Guidance Counselor

If your teen had an especially troubling time last school year like with bullies, a fight, or other social issues teenagers go through, they may be anxious about how they’ll be perceived when they head back. You can try and help them with these anxieties by talking with the guidance counselor. Together you guys can meet with other parents, teachers, or students to try and resolve any issues before the school year begins. 

Spend Quality Time

Sometimes a little TLC is all your teen needs to feel a bit better about the upcoming school year. All the back to school shopping and prepping can really get stressful and cause anxiety. So, once you’ve got everything prepared, take a day or two off and simply focus on your teen. Go have fun doing something you guys enjoy, maybe even get them a gift and don’t bring up school at all. 

Create a Routine and Practice

The hustle and bustle of the morning rush are enough to make anyone anxious. If you want to help your entire household out, create a routine for the school year and practice before it starts. Choose a time to get up, eat breakfast, and get dressed so that they get to school without having to run into the classroom or leave something important at home. 

Back to school anxiety is very common. Typically, it goes away after the child has been to school for a few days, but for some children, it can last longer. If you’ve noticed your teenager seems to be a bit different just weeks before school starts, sit down and have a talk with them about what they’re feeling. From there, you can make a decision on which of the above solutions would work best to ease their fears.  

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