A fresh, red apple on the teacher’s desk. Sprawling blackboards with just a hint of chalk dust at the edges. Bright yellow pencils with flawless erasers and crisp composition books in still-stiff backpacks.
The back to school season is in full swing around the nation, and many are positively giddy at the new year’s prospects.
However, some kids may struggle during this time of year. Whether it’s an elementary child with anxiety of leaving home for the day or a college freshman attending school out of state and completely out of their element, students across the nation catch the blues, and some suffer from bouts of day-ruining nerves. And, let’s face it, the parents and teachers may be struggling, as well.
Here are some tips to tame the back to school butterflies and lift the spirits.
An Arsenal of Calming Techniques
Be prepared for those moments of jitters, excess energy, or full-blown anxiety with a toolbox, so to speak, of techniques to calm the mind and spirit. Find what works for you and try as many new ones as possible away from the classroom or campus, so you’ll be prepared when your emotions rear up.
- Fidget spinners
- Deep breathing
- Sips of cool water
- Exercise and fresh air
When heading back to school predictability and knowing what to expect from certain parts of your day can help ease anxiety. Activities to add to pre- or post-school times include waking and sleeping times, eating healthy meals, and exercising. Also, try to schedule a block of time — even if it’s only every other week or the first Monday of the month — just for decompressing. Take that time to enjoy a hobby, spend a night out with friends, or try a new recipe to add to the menu rotation.
Kick the last-minute, anxiety-inducing scrambling to the curb. The tried-and-true, night-before planning of wardrobes, lunch choices and backpack stuffing are starters. Establish habits of putting items like keys, chargers, glasses, etc., in the same place after use to save precious time and headaches right before you head to class.
To-do lists rule. List assignment due dates, appointments, and even things like laundry day. Phone apps and calendars are great. However, consider hard copies, as paper and pen are shown to help make more connections in the brain, and the very act of crossing something off with a little flare can give a sense of accomplishment.
A Visual (or Audio) of Home and Loved Ones
Sometimes, focusing on a reminder of home and loved ones can calm the soul when heading back to school.
Lunchbox notes of encouragement can give a midday pick-me-up. If your young student is in the same room every day, consider taping a photo or memento from home inside their desk.
Keychains, necklaces and rings gifted at the start of the school year serve as a connection to the familiar and can also serve as a fidget during times of stress.
For college dorms or teacher dens, create a gallery wall above the study area of family, friends, pets and memories. Take it up a notch with canvas wall art they can hear as well as see.
From the tiniest kindergartner to the most senior of instructors, we all can benefit from the above strategies to calm minds and settle stomachs. For unique, encouraging gift ideas all school-year round, visit the Soundwave Art Shop.