Returning to school after the summer holidays is rarely something students look forward to. For those beginning high school, starting at a new school, or entering year 11 or 12, the anxiety and pressure associated with returning to school can often become overwhelming.
The pressure teenagers feel, which includes striving to achieve academically, socially and across extra-curricular activities, can cause anxiety. This results in teenagers dreading the inevitable return to school, as they often imagine the worst possible outcomes await them.
Top Blokes Foundation is Australia’s leading boy’s health organisation that provides positive outcomes and role models to at-risk males. Founded in 2006 by NSW Young Australian of the Year, Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, the Top Blokes Foundation reduces instances of anti-social and risk taking behaviours through mentoring programs and workshops.
Top Blokes youth educator, Bailey Risorto, facilitates Junior Top Blokes mentoring programs for boys aged 14-17, who typically display challenging behaviours or are not living up to their full potential.
Here, Bailey offers his advice for all students on how to reduce anxiety when returning to school.
Top Bloke’s five tips for parents to help their child make a smooth transition when returning to school are:
1) Don’t avoid school preparation:
Putting off school preparation until the last possible moment will only make for a more daunting and difficult return on the first day back. Take a step by step approach to school preparation and it will ultimately reduce anxiety as they will feel as prepared as possible.
2) Look forward to other activities:
Too often students operate in either “school” or “holiday” mode without trying to find a happy medium. The end of the holidays doesn’t have to mean the end of their favourite activities. If your teenager enjoyed surfing over the break, encourage them to schedule time for it before or after school or on the weekends.
3) Start the first day back with a positive outlook:
Try starting every morning with a big, protein-rich breakfast and listening to upbeat music. It will help start the day right and put your child in a positive frame of mind.
4) Be kind to yourself and others:
Returning to school or starting at a new one can be overwhelming. Check in with your child to see how they feel about all aspects of their school lives, not just how they’re going academically. Be alert to any changes in mood and make sure they know that there’s a school counsellor if they need help.
5) Break big goals into smaller ones:
Setting realistic, smaller goals will help long-term goals become achievable. Working out a plan at the start of the year to keep on top of study and other commitments will make more challenging tasks possible.
For more information about Top Blokes visit the website www.topblokes.org.au