Starting early helps quell back to school stress

Steps to help ease back into the school year

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 8/13/18

With two boys in junior high, Rebecca Zamora is no stranger to the stress of back to school time. Zamora, who lives in Adams county, said she begins preparing her sons, Nicolas, who is entering sixth …

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Starting early helps quell back to school stress

Steps to help ease back into the school year

Posted

With two boys in junior high, Rebecca Zamora is no stranger to the stress of back to school time. Zamora, who lives in Adams county, said she begins preparing her sons, Nicolas, who is entering sixth grade, and Diego, who begins seventh grade, weeks ahead of time to offset the challenges of going back to school.

“They’re always a little nervous to go back to school, and maybe a little more this year because they’re going to a new school,” said Zamora. “We start by getting up a little bit earlier a couple of weeks before school starts.”

Getting her boys involved also helps, including attending back to school nights and activities with future students. She also let her boys have a say in which school they would be attending.

Back to school shopping can be particularly stressful, but Zamora said she uses the experience to help get her boys excited about going back to school.

“We try to get them something they’re excited about, something special for them and this school year,” said Zamora. “There’s always one thing, a new pencil box, or a favorite binder that they really want, that they look forward to.”

The Zamora household, with two working parents, also utilizes the crock pot and themed food nights to transition back into the busy school year schedule.

“We’ll have taco nights, or breakfast Mondays,” said Zamora. “We cook in the crockpot as much as we can, so when we all get home at night dinner’s ready and we have more time for homework or catching up on what we all did for the day. Meal times are great for checking in with kids and listening to how they’re dealing with school.”

Some jitters normal

According to the American Psychological Association, back to school jitters are normal but parents should be aware of any signs of stress that could signal deeper anxieties and fears, including negative changes in behavior, or complaints of “feeling sick” that may be masking fears.

“If a child makes excessive trips to the school nurse or complains of frequent stomachaches or headaches, despite having been given a clean bill of health, or if these complaints increase in certain situations, such as before a big test, that child may be experiencing significant stress,” per the American Psychological Association.

Christina Dahmen, communications manager for Adams 12 Five Star Schools, said the district has resources available to help students and their families deal with going back to school, and are ready to help students who may be having difficulties.

“In Adams 12 Five Star schools, families are encouraged to contact their child’s school directly,” said Dahmen. “The school’s mental health team and or school counselor will work with the family and recommend additional support as necessary.”

Tracy Rudnick, public information officer for School District 27J, said schools in the district offer services for parents and students through the intervention services coordinator, and parents are encourged to contact them with any concerns.

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