(CBS) — Clinical Psychologist Dr. Sheela Raja joined the CBS 2 Morning Show to talk about helping your kids through back to school anxiety and how to connect more as a family.
Here are some of her tips:
1) Make time for the family to connect and get back into a routine
- With busy schedules, try to have your family in one place at least a few times a week.
- Mealtimes together can be really important for health and mental health.
- To get back to a routine, get things done the night before (and use small rewards, if your kids are younger)
2) Monitor Your Time Online
- More and more evidence suggests that too much time online (and on social media) is making parents and teens more depressed and anxious. (We compare ourselves to others, and online bullying can go on 24/7, so kids don’t ever get a break).
- The signs of tech addiction include not paying attention to your real-life relationships, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping
- Check your child’s phone periodically and role model healthy usage.
- If you need more help, consider apps to help you limit time online, don’t have phones in the bedroom, and seek professional help
3) Learn Emotional Survival Skills
- There has been an increase in the rates of teen anxiety, depression, and sadly, suicide attempts.
- Help your teens and tweens to cope with stress, not run from it. Negative emotions will pass with time. Realize that making mistakes and experiencing disappointment is a part of life.
- Good coping skills include talking to friends or family, exercise, sports, fun hobbies, or helping others in your community
4) Keep Communication Open
- Reassure kids that they can come to you if they are struggling.
- Encourage your kids to tell you if one of their friends is having thoughts of depression or suicide (it’s not uncommon for kids to know a lot more about what is going, but not tell adults).
- Keep in touch with your friends’ kids–an occasional text to say, “good luck on the first day of school.”
- If another parents reaches out to you with a concern about your child (they are worried your child may be depressed or anxious, for example) remember that person is just trying to help. Try to keep an open mind.