Whether you realize it or not, people are very social beings. Unless you are a famous writer, a farmer on a tractor in the middle of a field, or a student online in their room doing schoolwork, we generally interact with a lot of people. A lot of people who may bug us and stress us out.

And in public school, the beginning of the school year can be quite exciting. But also stressful, what with meeting new people, dealing with new rules, trying to connect with a new teacher. Parents and teachers alike can actually try to work to make the beginning of school pleasant, easier, less stressful.

PARENTS

You can make sure your child gets to bed at a decent hour and has breakfast before heading off to school (or has their certification for reduced or free lunch) so they don’t have to stress out and worry about those things, at least. If a child comes home from school feeling exhausted, or unhappy about something that happened there, you can always sit down a few minutes and listen to their concerns. You can also teach your child a simple exercise to relax.

Tell them to clear their mind and think of nothing. Breathe deeply in and out for a few minutes. Then tell them to go outside and get some exercise, maybe ride a bike. An older teen could even watch a comedy on television or a streaming service like Netflix to destress and relax if they have had an especially hard time at school that day.

If you really want to help, LIMIT time on the smart phone. There are even some parents who believe you should “wait until eighth”– grade, that is. Yes, what does a 7 year old need with a smart phone? Now if you are a single parent and worried about your child’s whereabouts (though being a “helicopter” parent could also stress out your child), a simple tracfone that doesn’t have internet access would make sense. Young kids should be out climbing trees, not obsessing about world events or TikToks dancers on the phone.

TEACHERS

Teachers can work at the beginning of the year to create a safe, relaxed “learning spot” in their classroom to help kids destress. They can solicit help from their pupils by making learning feedback specific (according to “ism inc”). Be sure the student can explain what they are doing/learning, in student friendly language. You can also show the student how to be less stressed by showing them how to promote healthy “self talk,” as a form of encouragement.

In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey, older students are encouraged to be “proactive” in their learning environment so they don’t wind up stressing out. The tips include: not being easily offended; taking responsibility for your actions; thinking before you act; bouncing back when something bad happens; focusing on things you can do without worrying about things you can’t.

Together, these things can help students (maybe even some adults) stress less, be adaptable, and enjoy their day more overall.

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