How can I help my 8th grader manage anxiety about the upcoming school year?

Families/Kids Mental Health

A: Many young people are struggling with anxiety and stress about the upcoming uncertainties surrounding the school year.

We can help them by focusing on the basics of mental wellness and creating an environment that is supportive.

We can also create a strong framework for young people, a “scaffold,” to offer tools to find solutions for themselves. By creating a strong framework, we can help them take control of some factors, while still preparing for others that may be uncertain.

Here is a simple framework for this:

📋 PREPARE for all possible outcomes. Talk openly with your young person about what may happen: in person schooling, hybrid, or online. By preparing for the least desirable outcome, you can help lessen the apprehension about what that will look like.

🏢Create a framework/structure that works for your young person. Remember to set boundaries, keep a schedule, set up a clean workspace for school work, ensure school supplies and technology requirements are met, stick to a schedule, and focus on the basics of wellness.

⚽ Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse the routines that you may have put into place before. Remember that you were able to get through online schooling and staying home last year. Focus on what worked and did not work. If in school last year, highlight the differences of the school year and how adaptable your young person was in getting through it.

💨 Embrace uncertainty. We can support the growth of resilient young people by helping them understand that uncertainty is OK. In fact, nothing in life is certain, so it helps us all deal with the ups and downs in life. The important thing is to normalize that it is OK for young people to feel anxious about it. Let them name it. Talk about it. And acknowledge that while we can’t resolve every uncertainty, we will be here to support them.

🌲By creating the systems that support our young people, we can help them get through this school year by reinforcing that we are here for whatever the next year may bring.

Stay Safe. Stay Sane.

With Love,
Those Nerdy Girls.

Image Credit

Graphic Source

Additional Resources:

Preparing for Back to School Success

How to help children reframe anxiety

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