School’s back

Ad­vice for back-toschool stress

Broome Advertiser - - Broome Happenings - Brooke Evans-But­ler

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.

Child­hood anx­i­ety

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).

Cy­ber safety

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.

Pic­ture: Getty

Thou­sands of chil­dren have headed back to school.

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