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Tips for Managing Back to School Stress
Tips for Managing Back to School Stress
Author: Alyssa Craig
It is nearly that time again, the day you have been counting down to since the last school bell rang a couple of months ago. It is almost time for back to school! Though this change is expected and welcome, the transition from carefree summer to the structure of school can at times be brutal. Not to worry - there are things you can be doing to lessen the potentially stressful situations that will inevitably come up.
Typically, summer mornings are not as hectic as school mornings so this change in routine can throw everyone for a loop. Make breakfast less stressful by making sure you have quick and easy meal options available such as cereal, oatmeal, fruit and yogurt. You can also make breakfast sandwiches in advance, freeze them and just pop them in the microwave when you need them. Breakfast helps to get your metabolism going in the morning and provides your kids with the energy their brains need to be learning all day. It really is a very important meal!
When it comes to lunchtime, planning ahead is going to be crucial. If your children pack lunches to school, help them get into the habit of preparing their lunches the night before, to make mornings run more smoothly. If your children eat school lunch, set a reminder on your phone for the next time they will need lunch money or put it on the family calendar.
After a long day and with the excitement of everyone coming home from work and school, dinner can sometimes be pushed to the bottom of the priorities until the tummies start to grumble. Start the habit of planning meals for the week in one sitting so when you go grocery shopping, you already have a list of the supplies you need for your meals. If your children are old enough, get them involved in the meal planning and pick a night per week when they can be in charge of helping with the cooking.
Right before school starts is a great time to get in some deep cleaning before the kids get too busy to help with much during the week. Make a big chore chart and divide out all the tasks you want done. You can offer incentives for completing a certain number of chores or assign each chore a point value and have a competition for the most points acquired before school starts. Then after the school year starts, you can keep up a schedule for general maintenance cleaning until the next opportunity for a deep clean comes along.
Just as other routines relax during the summer, bedtimes tend to go a little bit later than they would in the school year. In order to help everyone (yourself included!) get back on schedule for the new school year, start enforcing school year bedtimes as least one week before school starts. This will help your kids to adjust and be well rested by the time the school year starts. It will also help them to pay more attention in class and start the year off on a good foot.
One of the biggest fights comes in the evening when homework needs to be completed but the kids want to play instead. By establishing homework as the first priority once the kids are home from school, you can assist them as they learn time management and avoid the stresses brought on by procrastination. Once the homework is done, then play can ensue. Encourage your children to use planners (either ones provided by their school or ones they purchase) to keep track of their assignments and upcoming tests and deadlines. You can then review the upcoming week together in their planner and help them best manage their time to avoid last minute emergencies.
Back to school shopping is a kid’s favorite August activity and your wallet’s worst nightmare. As you look to acquire items necessary for the new school year, first take inventory of what you already have. Have your kids get out all their leftover school supplies from the previous year and decide what can realistically still be used in the coming year. For example, those big pink erasers rarely get used in one school year, so you do not need to buy another one! If shoes are still in good shape, there is no need to replace them quite yet. Doing this will give you a better idea for what your kids actually have an immediate need for now and cut down on your shopping list.
As you go about preparing for back to school, know that as much as you can try to lessen stress, there will probably be stressful situations that will be unavoidable. Many turn to other ways to manage this stress such as caffeinated drinks, finding some “me time” with TV and books or even exercising. While some of these are healthy behaviors, keep in mind that any of these outlets for stress can become addictive behaviors if not kept in check. In the end, if not kept in moderation, these things will only add to your stress as explained here. So stay healthy and use all of these tactics in moderation to make this transition a smooth one!
With a little planning ahead and focusing on healthy habits, your stress levels will be lower and you will be ready to tackle the new year with a renewed energy. Best of luck to both kids and moms as the new school year begins!