Methodist Healthcare - Employee Assistance Program


Be informed - Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program
Donna Tosches“Holidays are enticing only for the first week or so.  After that, it is no longer such a novelty to rise late and have little to do.”  ~ Margaret Laurence
It’s back to school time. For students all over the Mid-South, it is time to rise early and have lots to do! Some view the start of school with excitement: eager to see their friends, get back to their favorite sport or club, and take on the challenges and adventures that a new school year brings.
Some view the start of the school year a bit differently. Students and parents may feel some anxiety and stress. People complain of the pit in their stomach when they view school ads on TV or see the store shelves overflowing with school supplies. It is common for kids of all ages to experience some range of school anxiety and school related stress.  Even those who look forward to the start of school can feel anxiety. I was fortunate to be one of those always eager to return. However, many years later, I still experience the recurring dream of forgetting my #2 pencils as I sit to take my SAT exam.
Whether you have a student going off to school for the first time or have a seasoned pro – there are ways to minimize the anxiety that is common at this time of year. 
  • Mark the end of summer break– Do something special with your student to celebrate the end of summer break. Go to their favorite ice cream shop or enjoy a walk together. Talk about their favorite part of the summer. Begin discussing the highlights of the school year ahead. Keep it positive.
  • Follow a schedule– Students learn better and feel less anxious when they follow a routine. It is helpful to wake up and go to bed at the same time each school day. Perhaps there can be a set time to begin homework.
  • Plan for the morning rush– Students’ anxiety levels rise when the morning is chaotic. Encourage positive techniques such as laying clothes out the night before; placing book bags and completed assignments by the exit door; setting out cereal, bowl and spoon on the table before going to bed.  What else can be done in your home so that the morning is peaceful?
  • Family Time– Life is busy and schedules are tight, especially during the school year. Yet, it is important that there is time together as a family. Some days it may be the time between picking up from one activity and going to the next. Declare this time a “no phone” zone and ask about your child’s day. Plan to have several family meals during the week. Your family schedule may not permit that to always be the evening meal, so how about a family breakfast before work and school?
The best way that a parent or guardian can support their student and reduce their anxiety is to be involved with the child’s education. This interest in your student’s education, no matter what age the student, will set the tone for a productive and positive school year.
If you or any member of your household would like to talk further about school anxiety or any other matter, please call the Methodist Healthcare EAP at 901-683-5658 for a free, confidential appointment. You don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help.
Author: Donna Tosches, LCSW, CEAP is Director of the Methodist Healthcare EAP. Donna received her Master's Degree in Social Work in 1989. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional. Her experience includes EAP, hospital psychiatric and medical social work, crisis services and private practice for 21 years.
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