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Back-to-school stress is a real concern for parents. This stressful and frenzied time affects children and parents alike. As parents, you set the tone for how your children will respond and adjust to various situations and challenges in their lives.
If you are calm and in control, your children will feel reassured and safe. If you’re overwhelmed and frantic, your children will be stressed and anxious.
Surviving back-to-school is good for you and your children’s wellbeing and that’s why we’ve prepared this quick guide for a stress-free beginning of the school year.
1. Bring Back the Routines
Now that the holidays are over, children need to have strict bedtime and waking-up routines. If they have been going to bed a little later than usual during their summer break, you should reinstate their regular bedtime and waking-up routines in the weeks leading up to back-to-school.
Bringing back bedtime and waking-up routines will help your child slowly get back into the habit and mindset of school, which can help to reduce school morning stress for you.
2. Practice Mindfulness to Handle Back-to-Stress
Back-to-school stress and anxiety affect children and parents equally but in different ways. Back-to-school stressors for parents can include the many things you need to prepare, buy and know about your children’s upcoming school year.
In fact, a study has shown that parents’ back-to-school stress is caused by parental worries about many things.
For example, 50% of parents worry if their children will have good teachers, 44% are concerned about their children’s healthy eating habits, 42% worry about the cost of school supplies, 41% of parents worry about their children’s safety, and 40% are concerned if their children will make friends.
Practising mindfulness can be a great way to manage back-to-school stress. Mindfulness is being aware and paying attention to what is happening in the present.
Mindfulness can help you and your children cope with the stress and anxiety of going back to school. It also supports children’s critical thinking skills, improves their focus and bolsters their self-esteem and confidence.
For you, mindfulness can help you centre your thoughts, increase your focus and attention and calm your worrying mind.
So, whenever you feel those anxious feelings start to arise:
- Step back and take some time
- Breathe, refocus, and centre yourself
3. Ask for Help to Avoid Back-to-School Stress
It takes a village to raise a child, and this includes back-to-school. If you find that you are getting overwhelmed with all the things that you need to do and take care of for back-to-school, consider asking for help.
First, do what you can and rest assured that you are doing your best and that’s what is good enough.
Second, try to avoid comparing yourself to other parents who seem to have everything under control because you don’t know if this is the case.
Even if they do, everyone’s situation is different. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy!
Instead, lean on the people around you to help you with scheduling, drop-offs and anything that will make life easier for you during this period.
Don’t feel guilty about things you can’t do or are out of your control. Harboring parent guilt can increase your stress and anxiety.
As we stated earlier, your children will be stressed if you are stressed. So, approach this back-to-school as the adventure it is: a ride with some inevitable bumps in the roads and a few wrong turns.