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Ease Back-to-School Stress

If back-to-school time has your child wound up, you can help him adjust. Slowly switching to an earlier bedtime and displaying a calm, positive attitude will help.

Change may be good, but it’s not necessarily easy. Switching from the laid-back fun in the sun of summer to rules, homework, and routines can be a big jump for parents and children alike. But with a little preparation and the right attitude, it doesn’t have to be so hard.

It’s normal for a child to have a little flutter of anxiety about going back to school, according to Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a clinical psychologist and coauthor of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential. After all, they’re getting themselves ready for a lot of newness: a teacher, classmates, tasks, and challenges.

Students may have trouble sleeping at the start of the school year, but that’s nothing to worry about, Kennedy-Moore says. More uncomfortable symptoms might include continued trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, or irritability. Severe cases can involve tears, tantrums, and even refusing to go to school.

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