The back-to-school season is officially here and allows a fresh start for our youth. The back-to-school season brings forth a number of emotions, some of which include uncertainty, excitement, nervousness, joy, and so forth. It is understandable that these emotions may interchange and overlap with one another. Thus, we hope to provide parents, guardians, and teens a few tips and strategies to support the transitions and feelings that often derive with the start of a new school year!
Tips to Support Your Teen
- Encourage good sleep habits: Sleep is a powerful tool in the sense of promoting our well-being. Not only does it aid in preventing depression, but it also has been known to have a positive impact on our mental health as well. In the same manner, sleep is important for remaining alert during class and earning good grades. Thus, strive to establish a reasonable bedtime routine for your teen and remind them of the importance of a good night’s rest!
- Be available: Teens oftentime appreciate connecting after a day at school. There are a number of ways you can connect with your teen. This can be either in-person when your teen arrives back from school, on the phone, or simply sitting down to chat about their day. Strive to be available for your teen. This allows opportunities to bond and build communication skills!
- Stay connected: Oftentimes, as children get older, they may tend to share less with their trusted adult. However, that does not prevent you from striving to maintain rapport. Stay connected throughout the day by sending encouraging texts, writing personal notes to place in their book bag, reminding them that they have support, practicing active listening, discussing experiences that may appear to be scary or challenging, and providing comfort. (Click here for a list of encouraging phrases to leave on a note for your teen.) Overall, talk with your teen about their day, while providing positive feedback about their new experiences. You can be sure that your teen will appreciate the support!
- Serve healthy food and encourage healthy eating: The choices we make when it comes to eating oftentimes can affect our mood, ability to concentrate, and energy level. All of these components are key in your teen’s academic success and overall well-being. Thus, it is important to strive to provide healthy foods to support your teen’s mental and physical health. Offer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well as a variety of other foods to promote a healthy lifestyle and overall well-being!
- Encourage regular exercise: Physical activity is supportive to one’s mental wellness and has also been shown to decrease depression and anxiety. Not only do experts believe that exercise releases chemicals in our brains that make us feel good as a result, but regular exercise can also boost your teen’s self-esteem and help with concentration, sleep, and overall well-being. Thus, encourage your teen to partake in physical activity, whether it is a five minute walk or taking a dip in the pool, there are various types of exercises that one can enjoy!
- Reinforce your teen’s ability to cope: As indicated, this new season often brings forth changes and transitions. Therefore, providing your teen with a few strategies to manage difficult situations on their own may serve a number of benefits. Coping strategies range from talking with a trusted friend, adult, or therapist, journaling, listening to music, exploring nature, reading, and so much more. Overall, encourage your teen to find what works for them (Knopf, 2016)!
While all of these tips are beneficial, remember to encourage your teen to strike a healthy balance between school and personal life by prioritizing self-care in the midst of this new beginning. Self-care does not have to be complex and remember, self-care is not selfish. Rather, it is an investment in personal well-being. (Click here for a list of self-care activities to share with your youth.) By prioritizing self-care, your teen is one step closer to better physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
In summary, the start to a new school year may look different for everyone. Anticipation, excitement, worry, joy; These are all feelings that could circle as one enters into a new academic year. However, having adequate resources available to support you and your teen is the first step in achieving a sense of comfort and well-being. After all, the transition from summer break to a new school year allows our youth to renew their commitment to education, while striving for academic success!
Knopf, A. (2016), Back-to-school tips for children of all ages. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 32: 1-2. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbl.30154