The nerves of the new school year: 8 activities to ward off worries
Ease back-to-school nerves by keeping your kids busy on the last day of summer vacation
Anyone who feels the Sunday night dread before a new week at work will know all too well the anxiety that sets in before a big day – including the back to school anxiety children feel ahead of a new school year.
We explore this in our Back to School Digital Issue Edited by Alesha Dixon.
AFTER: 10 back-to-school traditions to start at home with your kids
There are a multitude of tips to help soothe back to school anxietyto speak through the days to come, to encourage children to practice mindfulness to help them calm down.
If your child is just feeling nervous, rather than suffering from anxiety, keeping them busy on the last day of vacation is a surefire way to keep their nerves from thinking completely normal.
READ: Best mindfulness gifts for kids: Helps relieve stress and anxiety in children
What’s the difference between back-to-school nerves and anxiety?
According Health Line, feeling nervous is a natural response to a stressful event. It is temporary and goes away once the stress passes.
Back-to-school nerves differ from anxiety
Anixety, on the other hand, is a psychiatric disorder caused by a number of factors including genetics, brain chemistry, and life events. Anxiety disorders are long-lasting and uncontrollable without treatment.
With that in mind, keeping busy on the last lane of summer vacation is a great way to banish back-to-school nerves and keep the whole day from dreading the morning that follows.
RELATED: 12 Best Children’s Books About Anxiety For Worried Kids
Read on to discover fun ways to spend the last day of summer vacation — and banish back-to-school nerves while you’re at it.
How to spend the last day of summer vacation
1. Purchase of pencil cases
Preparing for the new school year doesn’t have to be ironing uniforms and sorting out packed lunches – just organizing your child’s pencil case can make back to school fun.
Buying new stationery can help calm nerves about the school year
“I used to love going ‘pencil case shopping’ with my mum just before school started,” says Hello! Georgia Brown, the magazine’s lifestyle editor. “I would usually be allowed to get a treat like a new pack of fineliners or new highlighters and spend the evening arranging it.”
2. Play with friends
Keeping it low key on the last day of school holidays is a good way to banish nerves as the following day ceases to look like a “big” day. If your kids have been playing with friends all summer, why not plan that for the last day of vacation too?
Opt for friends who live locally to eliminate the need for specific pickup and drop-off times – there will be a lot of logistics to deal with once school starts!
Arrange a play date with friends
“I always spent the day at one of my best friends,” says Hello! Sharnaz Shahid, the magazine’s acting assistant online editor. “We used to watch Disney, play dress up and choose candy in the afternoon. Honestly, it’s so basic, but we loved it anyway!”
Encouraging your child to see a friend on the last day of vacation will remind them of the excitement of going back to school and seeing all the friends they missed over the summer.
3. Special outings
Marking the end of the school holidays with a day trip is a fun way to distract your child before the start of the school year – whether it’s a trip to the swimming pool, a visit to the museum or a visit in one of his favorite places, tiring the kids out before they go back to school means they’ll sleep well rather than worry in bed.
4. Reminisce about the holidays
Whether you’re putting together a summer vacation scrapbook or just discussing school vacation highlights, discussing all the fun you had is a great way to spend the last day of vacation.
Reminiscing about all the holiday fun they had can help ease the nerves
“My kids love to make videos and we put them together for a summer video to watch on the last day of vacation to remember the fun we had,” says Hannah Hargrave, Hello’s deputy US editor. !.
5. Plan a pampering evening
There’s nothing that calms the nerves like a little self-care. At-home face masks, hair masks and pedicures are a super fun and relaxing way to end the school holidays and make your child feel special.
Self-care is a relaxing way to end the school holidays
6. Plan a last-minute vacation
If you’re super organized and can do all the back-to-school preparation ahead of time, why not go on holiday right at the end of school holidays and come back the day before school starts. Your child will be distracted by all the holiday fun and nerves won’t have time to kick in!
7. Visualize the new school year
Although we avoid spending too much time on the last day of vacation thinking about school, allow half an hour to talk about the upcoming term.
“It helps to take time with your child to reflect and write down their worries and hopes for the new school year,” says Samantha Snowden, mindfulness meditation teacher at Head space. “It gives them a chance to express and process their feelings and see that they are manageable, not something they have to repress or deal with on their own.
“Ask your child to imagine a perfect day at school or a day when everything goes well, and maybe even take notes as they describe it to you. This will help your child make show optimism and have the courage to act in ways that make school the place they want to be.”
Baking is a fun activity for the last day of vacation because not only does it occupy restless minds, but it gives your child something to take to school and share the next day, which might get them excited rather than worry him.
Baking is a way for children to practice mindfulness
Headspace’s meditation director, Eve Lewis Prieto, points out that cooking can be mindful, which helps the nerves.
“When you’re in the kitchen focusing on tasks like stirring, mixing and weighing, it helps your child get away from all thoughts and distractions and keep their mind in the present moment. That’s the essence mindfulness!”
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