It’s that time of year again – August means back-to-school for kids and parents around the country. Malls and local stores are busy with eager shoppers who are looking for the best deals on new clothing and school supplies. Children are excited about new shoes, a new backpack and meeting new classmates. Parents are often positive about starting a new routine, getting children re-engaged in school and extracurricular activities.
While this can be an exciting time of year for many families, going back to school can also be stressful for kids and parents. A new school year means a new teacher, new classmates and new expectations. For children, schoolwork may be more demanding and children may also be navigating new or challenging relationships with peers. For parents, back-to-school may create a financial burden. Many parents also feel pressured to help their children succeed in schoolwork and in extracurricular activities.
With all of the activity surrounding back-to-school, it’s normal for kids and parents to feel a little overwhelmed. The following tips will help you and your family manage back-to-school stress.
5 Tips to Reduce Back-to-School Stress
- Set realistic expectations for you and your family. In other words, be careful of overbooking your schedules or demanding performance that may not be possible for children.
- Make planning part of your routine to minimize forgotten homework, trips through the local fast food drive-thru and last minute stops at the store for science project materials.
- Spend time with your children. You are your child’s greatest support system. Make sure you have time to talk with them each day and listen to their worries and their triumphs.
- Encourage exercise for the whole family. Exercise is good for the body, for brain function and helps reduce stress.
- Make sleep a priority. Let’s face it – when you’re tired, you’re irritable, you can’t focus, you have a tendency to make poorer food choices and it is more difficult to deal with common stressors. Everyone in your family will be better off with sufficient sleep.
If you or your family is feeling stressed with back-to-school preparations, seek support from family or your community. Wishing all of the kiddos out there a fantastic school year!