5 Ways to Beat Back to School Stress

Get the Kids Back to School Without Stressing Yourself Out

 

After a fun summer, sending the kids back to school is stressful for children and parents. There’s so much to do, new routines to get used to, and the list goes on.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Here are Foundations Counseling's tips for limiting back to school stress.

 

1. Teach the kids to help out

 

Your children should be involved in their own back to school experience, and helping them achieve independence in certain areas will build confidence, strengthen life skills, and reduce your own stress.

 

You can use incentives like allowance, a fun activity, or whatever else motivates your children. There’s nothing wrong with the good, old-fashioned sticker chart, either.

 

2. Divide responsibilities

 

“Divide and conquer” should be your household mantra, with each parent helping out around the house. Determine the strengths and preferences of each person and create a plan for who will handle what.

 

Things get trickier for single parents, but we can still use a similar concept. Single parents should consider dividing their responsibilities by time of day. For example, tackle the hardest and most stressful morning tasks the night before. This will help alleviate some AM stress.

 

3. Understand your child’s psychology

 

According to Dr. Bode Akintan, of the MCH Child & Youth Mental Health Program, "The summer period allows us to relax, but as we start a new school year there are many more situations we have to prepare for. A new class, a new teacher, a new school and, for some of us, a new home. These can be stressful for anyone, but especially for kids who already struggle with anxiety."

Based on my own experience, I can wholeheartedly echo Dr. Akintan’s sentiments. Going back to school can be stressful for a number of reasons, so it’s important to look out for unusual behavior patterns or changes in behavior. If you think something could be wrong, talk to your child from a place of understanding. Counseling can also be helpful for teaching children how to manage their stress and anxiety during the school year.

 

4. Establish a routine, but keep it simple

 

The entire family will benefit from a morning and evening routine, but make sure to keep it simple. Let go of the desire to have everything go perfectly, especially during hectic morning routines. This will allow you to have a plan while retaining the ability to go with the flow as needed.

 

5. Don’t over-schedule

 

Sports, musical instruments, dance classes… there’s no shortage of activities to enroll your children in. However, you must give your kids time to relax, unwind, and play freely in their own unstructured ways. Consider making at least one weeknight a “Free Day” each week.

 

This is important for their development, too. Kids need to play, but it’s something we forget to focus on all-too-often. Plus, it’s a great way to beat back to school stress — you might even want to run around and get creative right alongside your kids.

 

If you or your child struggle with anxiety, we are here to help. Contact Foundations Counseling to arrange a free consultation today!