Updated: September 13, 2023
By Tvisha Patel, contributing writer
It is officially back to school season! But how exactly can teens even prepare for back to school?
You may also be wondering: How can I ease their stress and anxiety?
As parents, these questions about the back to school transition are key, and we’ve got you covered!
But let’s cut right to the chase: Teenagers face a lot of stress when going back to school. This is due to social pressure, academics and pandemic challenges. And, as a parent, you may be thinking about ways to support tweens and teens going back to school.
And, guess what? Implementing mindfulness and yoga will also help you deal with stress and anxiety too, so this is a win-win situation. To learn more about how to ease anxiety for teens going back to school, read on.
Communicate to Understand Emotions
It’s important to understand how teenagers express their emotions. Sometimes, they want to talk and sometimes they hold all their emotions inside. Instead of getting alarmed by their actions, it might be good to hear them out.
Let’s say your teen comes up to you and starts venting about stress from school. Maybe instead of trying to interrupt first, you can just let them continue to vent.
Also, it’s important to understand that teens express their feelings differently. Some cry, some talk, some exercise and some have other outlets. We recommend bonding activities to communicate and better understand teens.
Bonding activities to ease anxiety for teens
If your teen seems silent and sad, try to go out to grab a snack, take a walk, go for a drive, or best of all, try playing a sport or practicing yoga with them!
Teens may share more with you if they’re doing an activity with you. Simply put, encourage them through conversations that you can have while doing activities. Afterall, learning how to connect through emotions and eye contact is super important!
How to Ease Back to School Stress
Teens face stress from school, homework, peer pressure, FOMO (fear of missing out) and much more, therefore it’s important to notice signs of stress early on
Good stress does exist, but it comes in the form of challenges and motivators that can push teens to step outside their comfort zone.
But, bad stress can cause many negative impacts including a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, and much more. In fact, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2018 reported that teens had higher anxiety and depression than all other age groups.
Introduce Meditation for Anxiety
Thankfully, there are ways to help teens with back to school stress! One of these methods includes meditation. Now, you may be thinking: how can I get my teen to sit and meditate?
Not every teen is the same therefore meditation can be done in different ways.
The first method is mindfulness meditation! This is where you ask your teen to focus on their thoughts and feelings and ask them to release it through deep breaths or even your choice of a mantra. You can always have peaceful music in the background to guide your practice as well. This can help your teen transition into school by releasing their stress and anxiety.
Another method is guided imagery meditation. Ask your teen to create a peaceful mental image. It could be of nature, a beach or anything that brings them joy. Visualizing a calm environment can help them shift their mind away from the stress they experience from school.
How to Help Teens Get into a Routine for School
Have you ever noticed that when you have to wake up on a Monday morning, after sleeping in on the weekends, it’s a little bit harder to get going? This is because our bodies get used to a routine that we set.
Therefore, it’s important to help teens get into a healthy routine, which can help them de-stress and feel more productive.
The first important aspect of a routine is SLEEP! Sleep helps improve concentration, mood and productivity. The Sleep Foundation states that 57.8% of middle schoolers and 72.7% of high schoolers get less sleep than recommended. This shows why it’s integral to ensure you actually set a bedtime routine, allowing your teen to feel better on school mornings.
Next tip: Set times for getting homework done. This will help them free up time once they’re done. For example, once classes are done, they can grab a snack and catch a break. But, right after that, it may be helpful to have designated homework time. They will thank you! This gives them time to relax in the evening, watch television, go on a walk, do yoga or indulge in any hobbies.
Lastly, have scheduled days or times to implement your child’s passion! Encourage them to join a sports team, dance team, music group, yoga classes or anything else they like. Having an extracurricular or enrichment activity helps them make new friends and gives them a serotonin boost (the feel-good chemical)!
How to Help with Learning
During teen years, school may get a little bit harder with a more intense academic and social workload. But there are ways that parents can provide support to encourage learning! To begin, it’s important to make a clear space without distraction, so that they can focus. A bonus tip: Make sure there’s a lot of natural light in their workspace as it helps them stay focused.
Then, help your teen plan ahead for tests and assignments. Last minute work can really be nerve-wracking. To prevent this from happening, encourage organizational skills within your teen. Ask them to make a calendar online or in a journal to stay on top of all their work and activities.
Lastly, encourage breaks! If you find that your teen has been in front of a screen for hours working, ask them to get up and take a walk, grab a snack, do yoga and stretch. This can help them reset and refresh their mind.
How can I help my kid study?
Here are a few quick tips to help your child study.
Encourage using flashcards, taking notes, or taking practice quizzes. Also ask your child to reach out to peers and teachers whenever they’re experiencing difficulties. Asking questions can help solve a lot of problems, but sometimes teens are shy and need an extra push!
Introduce Yoga to Ease Stress
Yoga is one of the BEST ways to help release any stress and anxiety for teens going back to school. Not only that but it helps teens regulate emotions and improve concentration.
Imagine your teen complaining about always being in the classroom or sitting in front of the screen all day – yoga can come to the rescue! Yoga will help them physically release tension in their body and mentally clear their mind.
You must be thinking, how can I introduce yoga to my teen? There are several ways to do so, but here are some quick tips.
Simple Techniques for Yoga for Teens
Breathing exercises for teens
To start, think about what time of the day you want to start practicing yoga. It doesn’t always have to be planned, but it can be nice to do yoga in the morning or after your teen finishes their school work.
Start by introducing breathing exercises. Ask them to sit in a comfortable position, breathe in and feel their belly rise; and breathe out and feel their belly fall. This encourages them to take deeper breaths and learn to regulate their breath to calm down.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, and let your arms rest by your sides. Slowly lean or roll forward and start to fold towards the ground. Feel the long stretch across your spine. Come back up slowly to arrive at a stand. This is great for teens who are sitting all day!
This one is an all time favorite! Teens will get a chance to rest their eyes from all the screens they’ve been watching. To start, kneel on the ground and slowly sit back on your heels. Start to bring your body forward and bring your torso on top of your thighs. Place your hands in front of you to feel a deep stretch.
This one will help your teen focus on balance! This can take their mind off of any school related anxiety as they shift their focus on their balance. Ask them to stand normally and press their hands together at chest level. Then, ask them to lift one leg and place it above or below the knee of the opposite leg. It will be challenging at first but that is the fun part, especially once they get the hang of it!
Ready to kickstart the School Year with your Teen?
It is hard for parents and teens to adjust to this back to school season, but with a few great tips and tricks – including practicing yoga and meditation, communicating and setting a routine – things won’t seem so overwhelming. Just remember to take deep breaths and try out a few yoga classes. Have a great school year!
Tvisha Patel is a blog writer at Pretzel Kids. She loves doing yoga in her downtime and is currently a business student at Schulich School of Business – York University, in Ontario, Canada. Tvisha also enjoys exploring nature, music and photography!