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Detecting back-to-school stress

Children don't always take change in stride, and heading back to the books can take some getting used to.

There are many sources of back-to-school stress, including adjustment to new teachers and classmates, an increase in homework, or just the transition to a different daily routine. Sometimes stress has a more serious cause, such as bullying or a school-related phobia.

Being prepared to help your child means being on the lookout for key clues. Signs your child may be stressed or anxious include:

  • clinginess, crying, or irritability
  • sudden bedwetting or daytime wetting
  • sleep disturbances
  • avoiding school or social activities
  • sudden problems in school
  • nervous habits (twirling hair, chewing fingernails)
  • reverting to younger behaviours
  • frequent headaches or stomach aches

If you notice your child is stressed, open up a dialogue. Talk to them about coping techniques or solutions to what's stressing them out. Make sure they are eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough nighttime sleep, and encourage physical activity, which is a great outlet for anxiety. Be sure to build some down time into your child's routine.

Involve the teacher or principal in problem solving if appropriate. And check in with your child's doctor if the stress seems unmanageable or excessive.

Above all, reassure your child that they’re supported and loved, with lots of hugs, kisses and encouragement.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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