Get enough rest:
- Children ages 4 through 6 years need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep
- Children ages 7 through 12 years need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep.
- A week or two before school begins, have your children go to bed at a set bedtime and wake- up at the time they will need to wake for school.
- It is also helpful to get back into the school routine a few days before children need to return from school breaks.
Know what to expect in new situations:
- Think through any experience that makes your children worry and walk through the activity together.
- For example, if children are uncomfortable about going to a friend’s birthday party, drive or walk to the home ahead of time so the location is familiar, offer to take your child’s friend to the party so your child knows someone as soon as arriving at the party; practice things to say to the birthday child and the parent (thank you for inviting me); talk about what to say if offered food that isn’t wanted, etc.
- Let children know it is okay to make mistakes and talk to them about how we can learn from mistakes. Let them know they don’t need to be perfect, just do their best.
Avoid too many activities or responsibilities:
- Have your children select the one or few activities that are most enjoyable and important to them rather than do as many as possible.
- Be sure you give children tasks that they can do as their jobs and be sure you don’t give them tasks that are adults should do (e.g., getting younger brothers and sisters ready for school).
Find healthy ways to deal with stress:
- Getting rid of stress through action (e.g., exercise, sports) can help some children. Others may need to find a space to be alone and have some quiet time. Give your children some time to ‘let off steam’ or ‘collect their thoughts’, and be sure you give them time to talk to you so you can learn what is bothering them.
- Teach them calming breathing techniques and remember to use them yourself.
- Be a good example of how to deal with stress. Be sure to avoid reacting in an angry manner when you have had a "bad day."
- It can be difficult when children worry about things you feel may not be a problem. But be sure your children know you will support them and help find ways to "get through it!"