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Mayo Clinic Q and A: Back-to-school mental health tips

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Our daughter has attended college just about for the previous 5 years and loved the expertise. Now that she is heading into ninth grade, she needs a extra conventional highschool expertise. Nevertheless, she has develop into extra nervous as college will get nearer and complains about stomachaches. How can I ease the transition for her and assist her be much less anxious?

ANSWER: College is among the most essential locations the place kids study and develop intellectually, socially and emotionally. And whereas the need is powerful for youngsters to return to a wholesome college atmosphere, change might be difficult.

You will need to keep in mind that not each particular person reacts to alter in the identical method. Your little one clearly acknowledges that this coming college 12 months will look totally different than previous years.

Step one to serving to your daughter transition is to maintain a wholesome mindset and concentrate on the constructive. Highschool college students might discover their feelings fluctuate between pleasure and nervousness. Though your daughter helps this modification, the nearer the change turns into, the extra doubtless she feels nervous.

I might suggest that you simply sit down along with your daughter and attempt to get a way of what it’s about college that makes her nervous. Is she involved about making new buddies? Nervous about being overwhelmed by homework? Is there one thing new that could be inflicting nervousness, like coping with a locker mixture or switching lessons?

Typically simply with the ability to discuss these particulars and put the nervousness into phrases may also help a teen who’s feeling anxious. Attempt to assist her take into consideration different methods this would possibly end up. Typically, the anticipation of issues tends to be worse than the precise expertise.

I additionally suggest that you simply speak along with your daughter about your personal experiences shifting into highschool and any nervousness you had and the way you overcame it. Doing it will let your daughter know that she’s not alone within the scenario, that it is OK to be nervous, and there are methods to get by it.

Additionally, take a look at alternatives to ease your daughter right into a back-to-school routine. Speak to the college administration about her issues. In case you can, organize for a tour of the college or a gathering with academics upfront of orientation. Speak along with your daughter about adjustments in day by day routines, which is usually a problem for everybody — even adults.

Most significantly, remind your daughter to remain versatile and be open to the chance that her emotions might change over the course of the 12 months. And let her know that it’s OK to not really feel OK. Teenagers should want to listen to that affirmed by the adults of their lives.

For anybody feeling anxious, it’s normal to be irritable, or really feel a way of loss or unhappiness. Issues with sleep, bodily rigidity and fear may end up.

Think about the following tips to assist handle your daughter’s psychological well being and ease the transition to this college 12 months:

  • Bear in mind and supportive.
    As you will have already executed, be alert to acknowledge any ongoing issues or nervousness, and proceed to speak along with your daughter about her fears.
  • Be optimistic.
    Keep a constructive perspective in regards to the transition and encourage her to do the identical.
  • Apply leisure and study new abilities to handle stress.
    Discover how leisure, mindfulness or different stress administration methods, comparable to yoga, can calm the thoughts. A number of free lessons and psychological well being apps are on-line. Many of those abilities are moveable and can be utilized anytime, wherever.
  • Set and keep a traditional day by day routine.
    Assist your daughter purpose to get up and go to mattress as shut as potential to the identical instances every day. Remind her to remain hydrated, attempt to sustain with a nutritious diet and concentrate on getting bodily exercise. A wholesome physique helps keep a wholesome temper and mindset.
  • Discover help by buddies.
    Assist your daughter determine some buddies who additionally is perhaps transitioning into highschool, both from digital college or just shifting up from center college. Encourage them to attach earlier than college begins to assist all of them really feel extra assured.

Some individuals might wrestle with extra important psychological well being difficulties, so in the event you consider your little one wants further sources, I like to recommend speaking along with her pediatrician or one other well being care skilled to find native psychological well being sources. — Dr. Craig Sawchuk, Psychology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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