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It’s time to head back to school, which means changes in the morning routine and new challenges around issues like social acceptance, academic performance, and study habits. Anxiety and depression can hit parents hard as they worry about their child’s experiences and navigate these obstacles with them. Here are some strategies to help you juggle your workload while supporting your child.

Establish a family calendar. Working parents need a solid family calendar system to reduce stress and diminish avoidable bad surprises. There’s no one right way to keep track of your family’s schedule, but there are some basic principles to guide you in setting up a system that works effectively and helps you all to feel like you’re on the same team.

Maintain open communication with your child. Do you have a teenager? Parenting a teen can be complicated, especially since they are beginning to make decisions about things that have real consequences, like school and friends and driving, not to mention substance use and sex. Teens are still learning to regulate their emotions, which can lead to risk-taking and impulsive decisions. Here are some tips for navigating the new terrain.

Limit social media usage. A global study found school loneliness correlated with increases in smartphone and internet use—when countries reached a point where half of the teen population had access to smartphones, loneliness levels began to rise. It can be difficult for adults who grew up without or with limited social media to understand why it’s so important to young people, but it matters to them and is a very real part of our world. It’s important to learn about the unique pressures and challenges they face due to it. Some things you can do include limiting screen time and modeling healthy use.

Set routines and boundaries, which also helps develop empathy and self-awareness.

Encourage independence. Children who play an active role in preparing for back to school – such as choosing and organizing school supplies and new clothes – are more likely to get excited about going back to school, which in turn eases their jitters. Independence also leads to confidence.

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