Transitioning back-to-school brings a sense of excitement for many children, change of routine, reuniting with friends, buying new school supplies, and going to a different classroom. With that excitement, comes the stress parents are left with in managing all of the change and needs of their children.
Going back-to-school does not need to be thought of as a crazy time of year. Instead it can be managed and planned for making your stress significantly reduced. Below you will find some great tips on how to re-establish a solid routine, and making that transition as smooth as possible for everyone in the house.
- Communicate with your children and have an open dialogue about any concerns, worries, or expectations they may have for the upcoming school year. It is important to include children in discussions about life changes, allowing them to feel calm and connected to their family.
- Make time to bond and relax with your family. Set aside one to two hours a week in which the family can do an activity together, apart of the distractions of technology. Such as, taking a walk or a bike ride on a nature path.
- Not only should you spending time with your family, but also make time for yourself. Provide yourself with the same opportunity to do something you enjoy, away from your fast-paced life.
- Back-to-school shopping is the highest reported stressor by parents. Create a budget for each child, and stick to it! Not only will this reduce stress, but also you can make this into a learning opportunity for your children. Fill them in on their budget, and help them keep track of it. It will raise their awareness of managing money, instilling a sense of responsibility.
- Another great way to save money and time is to take a current wardrobe and supply inventory. See what still fits, and then talk with your kids about what they would like to buy.
In terms of the supply inventory, along with your children go around the house using the school supply list to see what you already have.
You may find that you already have three glue sticks, one that can be used at school. If you tend to be a technology user, make the list digital for you and your kids. It could become a fun game between you and the kids to see who can find more items, much like a treasure hunt.
- Save coupons you find online or in print. You could even save your online coupons as snapshots to an album on your phone. This will keep you clutter free and focused on your next back-to-school shopping trip.
- Being on vacation means long summer days and nights, changing meal and sleep patterns for children. This can cause quiet the disturbance once having to transition back to an early night and early morning wake up schedule. A way to make this transition easier is a week prior to school, have everyone go to bed and wake up early, straighten their rooms and eat breakfast. This allows for a smoother transition, instead of being bombarded with change.
- Everyone in the house should use a planner and/or calendar to track events. Having a main calendar in a popular room in the house, like the kitchen, is a great way to keep track of everyone’s activities and schedule. This will reduce miscommunication and stress later on.
- Making lists of daily responsibilities for the family is another way to improve organization. Prioritize and delegate tasks for appropriate family members, this can take the load off of one person and reinforce responsibility to all family members. A family is a team and there is no “I” in team.
- Homework is a priority and should be done before any other activities, such as TV, video games, or playing on devices.
- Homework should be done in a designated area and set time each day upon arrival from school. The area can be any place comfortable, away from distractions that way the child is able to focus on their assignments. Children do much better in a structured environment, where they know what to expect and when.
Any transition can be difficult, however if you plan, take steps ahead to organize, and clear your mind you will be much better prepared to face any obstacle. If you are less stressed your children will feed off of that and also feel more calm and in control for what is to come with the upcoming school year.
If you’re looking for more tips and techniques for better managing stress – whether for back-to-school or any other reason – call Capital EAP and speak to a trained counselor.