School Is Coming…Stress and Back To School
Are you worried about back to school and stress in your kids? It will soon be the first day of school. It will be hard to believe that the summer has passed. Or that our children will be dawning their new shoes and backpacks and will be heading out the door. We will take the traditional pictures and wave goodbye as they walk into their new classroom.
We can picture the morning as a good morning – organized – lighthearted and calm. But this is not a typical year, for many parents and children the school morning start may be filled with anxiety, fear, and overwhelm.
Stress and Back To School. For many parents the challenge of helping children get to school and ourselves off to work can be a dauntingly stressful task. Click to tweet
Stress and Back To School Parenting Tips
Here are a 5 tips gathered from our Surviving To Thriving With Stress Workshops:
- As best as you can, prepare you child for what they can expect. Talk about the procedures that may be in place, and ways to problem solve the unexpected challenges that lay ahead. These discussions help to provide the appropriate tools which can ease their anxiety and provide them with the confidence that they will be okay. It is fine to share your concerns, but try to minimize expressing your anxiety. Instead, role model appropriate problem-solving and self-care strategies.
- Preparation allows you space to react to your children’s needs. Prepare the night before by packing bags, loading the car, picking clothes, and setting the table for breakfast. Listen to the weather report. Ensure that you have the right clothes for the day so that time isn’t spent trying to find the rubber boots if it happens to be raining. Knowing that things are organized can allow you to look for signs of anxiety and stress and address them in the moment.
- Enlist everyone’s help in establishing a morning routine. Decide what needs to be done, who can do it, and who is responsible for it. Even small children can make sure that the dishes are removed from the table when they are done eating, or that the dog bowl is full, or that their teeth are brushed before they put on their shoes.
- Go to bed early enough in order to get your 7 – 9 hours of sleep before you have to start your morning routine. Ensure that children are getting their 9 – 11 hours of sleep. Stress takes more energy and sleep is crucial in helping all of us to cope with the unexpected.
- And finally, be sure to wish them a great day and show your love for them. These warm feelings will help to buffer them throughout their day and in the other challenges that they may face along the way. If your house is like mine in anyway, don’t expect that your children will reach out to you with the same expression of love and care. Their world is changing, and that may be all that they can handle. Be prepared for them to express their anxiety, frustration, and stress in your direction. You are their safe space to vent off some of these emotions.
Final note: September is seen as the beginning – the beginning of school and it may be the beginning of extra-curricular programs starting up again and the return to business. Resist the urge to over-schedule. Plan for extra sleep as children and parents adjust to new routines, change and uncertainty.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!