Advice for back-toschool stress
Getting the kids ready for school goes beyond ensuring their uniforms are clean and their bags are packed.
As thousands of students start a fresh school year, we look at advice regarding healthy lunch boxes, anxiety and cyber safety.
Stephen Carbone, clinical adviser at Beyondblue, says common childhood anxiety conditions include separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, simple phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder.
“Each of these conditions has its own unique characteristics,” he says.
“However, the things they have in common include intense or prolonged worry, which is out of keeping with the situation and which does not go away with simple reassurance; being easily upset and hard to comfort; physical changes such as tension, restlessness, trouble sleeping, headaches or tummy aches; and avoidance or disruption to a child’s routine, such as being overly clingy, asking others to do things for them, avoiding new things, not wanting to sleep alone or school refusal.”
Dr Carbone adds while anxiety is a normal human experience and all children experience worry or fearfulness about certain things as they develop, children may need extra support when:
They feel anxious more than other children of a similar age.
Their fears and worries seem out of proportion to issues in their lives.
Anxiety interferes with their ability to do things that other children their age can do.
Anxiety makes them avoid participating in activities socially or at school.
He says for parents concerned about their child, it may be helpful to make an appointment with a general practitioner, paediatrician or child psychologist.
A healthy lunch box
Does packing a healthy lunch (that the kids will eat) seem impossible?
Kate Di Prima, accredited practising dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, recommends including water and the following in your child’s lunch:
A protein-rich main meal (she says this could be a salad and chicken sandwich, a wrap/roll, sushi or leftovers from last night’s dinner). A piece of fresh fruit. Calcium-rich dairy (yoghurt, flavoured milk, a smoothie or cheese and crackers).
A vegetable item (such as carrot sticks, celery sticks or cherry tomatoes).
According to Constable Care Child Safety Foundation chief executive David Gribble, mobile devices are the most common way of accessing the internet and the rise of social media and “always having connectivity” has broadened the scope of online cyber bullying.
Thousands of children have headed back to school.