ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - When it comes to going back to school, anxious feelings are normal.
Back to school nerves are normal.
In general, any big change is going to cause anxiety, which often times, people tend to think is a bad thing, but in fact, it's a natural part of our body trying to prepare us. In this week's Two Your Health, Channel 2's Ariane Aramburo brings you a special Back to School edition with an interview with licensed Psychologist Nadine Baker about things parents can do to calm some of those back to school nerves.
Dr. Baker said first thing's first: parents should have a conversation with their kids about how they're feeling about entering a new year. Most kids are excited and anxious and they don't always know how to balance both feelings. If they are anxious, let them know it's okay. Don't get upset and try to meet them where they're at.
She said another good resource is inviting the school to help problem solve. You can help ease kids into going back to school by looking ahead at events. For those with little ones, arrange play dates with kids you know they'll be in school with. Dr. Baker said now is a good time to start setting some best practices.
"So looking at the bedtime, looking at what time kids are getting up, starting to have limits around the technology. Generally the recommendation is not more than one to two hours a day, especially in elementary, that kids have their responsibilities done first or that there's some plan made so that their chores and their school work is done," she said.
While anxious feelings are a normal part of the process, there are some things Dr. Baker said are red flags. Pay attention to things like if your child is spending a lot of time in the nurses office or says their stomach hurts. One of the biggest red flags is if your child is refusing to go to school.
"I think whenever parents are in a position to feel like they are physically trying to remove their kid from the home to put them on the bus or put them in the school or if they won't get out of the car if kids are having nightmares or anger outbursts," that can be a warning sign, she said.
"Really we're laying a foundation for an ongoing conversation about kids in the school environment so that if something pops up, kids will know sooner and can address it," she said. "It's like anything else -- there's a lot of things that happen and kids are trying to sort through on a regular basis and the school environment is full of opportunities for kids to have to have feelings and figure out what to do with them," said Dr. Baker.
In the end Dr. Baker stressed that kids love attention from their parents, so helping ease some of those back to school nerves is as simple as sitting down and having a conversation about how the both of you are feeling.
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