Back-to-School Stress

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There might still be over a month left of summer, but in the second week of August, summer as it matters for kids is drawing to a close.

District 203 resumes classes on August 16, and District 204 is back on August 21. The start school can also mean the start of stress.

“We see a lot of anxiety in kids and it comes up a lot with school, especially more the junior high and high school ages,” said Adam Russo chairman & CEO of Edgewood Clinical Services. “They see the pressure of performance and it builds this time of year.”

Athletics and extracurriculars, volunteering, and of course, academics: many students feel the pressure to be involved and to succeed at every level.

Others may be stressed about transitioning to the next level of school – stress that parents might share too.

“A big part of it is, are parents comfortable coming to terms with the fact if their kids going into high school, that things might not go well all the time,” said Russo.

Russo also says it’s important for parents to stay calm and supportive – failure should be an option for kids. Instead of punishing them, help them work through what went wrong.

“I think as a parent it’s better to reflect that there’s a value in the effort and if kids can feel reassured that just because the outcome didn’t go as well, that the effort they put in was valuable and there is a lot to gain and to learn from that effort,” he explained.

If it seems like kids are having a particularly tough time coping with stress, professionals are available to help – from school counselors to community organizations and mental health clinics.

“What is the root of anxiety for the kids and why is it now creating a disruption in their lives?” Russo added. “Because everybody becomes anxious but it becomes clinically significant when it impedes their ability to function day-to-day the way they would like to.”

A simple way to help kids better cope with stress is to make sure they eat well and sleep enough – everybody has a rough time when they’re hungry or tired.

With support from the community, schools, and most importantly, home, students can be ready for whatever the new school year has in store.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.