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Experts share tips to manage stress, anxiety for back to school

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Posted at 11:20 PM, Aug 07, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. — The final days of summer are winding down for kids across the Tampa Bay area. If you or your child are feeling stressed or anxious about that, experts are sharing their tips to help with a smooth transition back to school.

Soon, 11-year-old Antonio Jackson will trade his summer for school days.

“I feel super pumped up,” said Jackson.

But a new school year can bring on other feelings too.

“I’m feeling nervous about like the school programs and school homework because they’re going to have a lot of books and computers around there,” said Jackson.

Students and parents aren’t alone if they’re feeling stress or anxiety with the transition back to school.

“I would say pay attention to the basics, how are our kids showing up in their normal, everyday tasks to take care of themselves and how they care for others,” said Dr. LaDonna Butler, the CEO of the Well for Life and New Visions of the Well.

Dr. Butler, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, explained that while families might be excited about going back to school, there can be mixed emotions, but there are ways to manage that.

“Anxiety is perfectly normal. However, routines are our best friend. So really settling down on a routine from what the end of the day is going to be, what our beginning of the day is going to be is so important to really establish a set of consistency for our kids,” said Butler.

Butler said it’s important to have opportunities to talk about feelings too. If students continue to struggle, she suggests connecting with their teachers and school staff.

“Of course, if those things are persistent or having an immediate negative effect, we want to reach out to a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a social worker,” said Dr. Butler.

For parents, Butler said when you need help, ask for it.

“It’s so important, especially during this time, that as strong adults, we need the care, and we’re modeling those things for our kids, so as they watch us ask for help, receive help, and give help, our kids can know the same can be true for them,” said Butler.

“I’m actually very excited. They get to get out of the house,” said Bree Coachman, Jackson’s mom.

For now, families are taking in the final days of summer while getting ready to ring in a new school year.

“You just take it one day at a time. One day at a time,” said Coachman. “Nothing’s too hard. As long as we take our time with it, we can do everything.”