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Visual Aids Help Reduce Student Stress As New School Year Begins

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Visual Aids Help Reduce Student Stress As New School Year Begins

Heading back to school can be a stressful time for young students, but there are ways parents can ensure success.

Local Pediatric Occupational Therapist Heidi Clopton said visual aids are beneficial when helping kids prep for the new school year.

“Talking to them doesn’t work nearly as well as taking pictures and then showing them the pictures,” Clopton said. “So if they’re younger you can take a picture of them smiling with their teacher, you can take a picture of the classroom, you could even do a little video of the walk down the hall.”

Clopton said there’s a fine line between talking positively and overwhelming students when it comes to discussing school. She said sometimes parents will overshare and actually create new fears for their kids. She said the best way to avoid this is to only give kids direct answers to their questions.

Clopton said finding that new routine will also play a key role in the start of the new school year. She said putting together a visual schedule with plenty of “brain breaks” will help kids be more successful and less burnt out.

“These things that help our brains listen and focus and kind of reset so that the stress level doesn’t continually increase throughout the day that the brain gets a little break,” Clopton said. “And when they get home, don’t do homework right away get them outside. If they’re older, get them to walk the dog or take a walk around the neighborhood. If they’re younger kids send them outside to play, let them do things that are going to help get the oxygen flow to their muscles and joints throughout their day, and that in turn relaxes the brain.”

Clopton said that kids respond to new environments and stress in different ways, and even more differently than adults. She said she recommends parents be a little more patient and not try to push kids too hard as they adjust.


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