As the end of school approaches, stress and strong emotions emerge for many children and teens. In fact, burnout, brain fog, and frustration are common. But how can parents help their child finish strong and start the summer with ease? Testing your child’s neurotransmitter levels is one of the most effective ways to help them feel confident and in control.
Avoid End of School Stress
After many months, tests and too much homework, focus issues, behavioral problems, and learning challenges amplify toward the end of school. What many parents forget is that an imbalanced brain is to blame. .
We see more anxious children now than we often do at the beginning of the school year. Children and young adults may feel some relief from tests and homework, but also experience anxiety or discomfort around the end of a school year as they anticipate a change from their school routine. Sensitive students and those with special needs are particularly at risk for having intense emotions and outbursts associated with transitioning to summer. Many parents may wonder why their child has become unglued, more anxious, or irritable. Here’s why:
Their brains are burned out. Like running a marathon, their brains are trying with all their might to finish strong, but they may not have the reserves necessary do to this!
Don’t Be The Parent Who Waits Until It’s Too Late
Testing or retesting your child’s neurotransmitters now is helpful to gauge where their
levels are, and what we can do to get them in optimal shape over the summer. Their
brains and behaviors won’t magically transform once they head back to school next
fall; they need help now.
We have many children that test in August and September. Parents often admit
they wish they would have taken these steps earlier so that they could have started
the year off with more support, rather than waiting until their child is worried,
anxious, or overwhelmed with the new school schedule.
What You Can Do To Reduce Summertime Stress
* Listen closely to what your kids are saying. Remind them to try their best on
end of the year assignments, and that you are there to help if they need it. The
end of the school year can cause a tremendous amount of stress academically.
* Make sure their diet and supplement schedule is consistent. Eating every 3-4 hours
and staying hydrated will help keep blood sugar from becoming out of control, and help keep emotions in check. A consistent supplement schedule as usual, even during the
summer, will allow for more consistency in mood. Retest as recommended to help insure
a balanced brain.
* Sleep schedules are important. Sleeping in and staying up late during the summer
months is what we all looked forward to as children, but this can really throw their
mood off. An extra hour at night or in the morning should be fine, but make sure
they are getting their supplements and meals at roughly the same time as they would
during the school year.
* Try not to underestimate the anxiety of camp or new activities, as this underestimation feels invalidating for children. Camp is not a replacement for school and can cause anxiety for many children. Who will my counselor be? What will I do all day? Will I make new friends? Where is it located? What time will I see Mom or Dad? These questions are all looming in the background while finishing up school.
* Make a schedule that they understand. Use colors and pictures to show them what
the next 2-3 months will look like. Place it somewhere they can see it and refer
to it as needed. Have them help you decorate and/or come up with some family outings
or activities, so they feel a sense of ownership over the summer months. If they
get stuck on worrying about months to come, try one week at a time.
* Suggest that your child stay in touch with their teacher through email or snail
mail. Ask his or her teacher if you can have their address to stay in touch. Have
your child send a post card from vacation to his or her former teacher, or email
them just to say “hi.” This will help emphasize that your child’s teacher will
not just disappear after he or she leaves their class. When school starts, encourage
your child to visit their “old” teacher.
* Stay in the present moment. Wait until it’s time to turn the calendar page from
July to August before talking about next year. The phrase, “Now that you’re going
into ______ grade,” will make your child begin to look forward rather than behind,
which can be terrifying. Try to praise them for finishing up this grade before
making them anxious about the next.
We hope you have a fun and relaxing summer. Please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 888-257-9068 with
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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