3 Tips For Beating Back-To-School Stress

Family, Self

School year stress is easily managed with these three tips.

With summer winding down, school has started and teachers, parents, and students have hit the ground running! Returning to school after summer break usually brings about excitement for students as they look forward to a new grade, new teacher, new friends, and reconnecting with old friends. Interestingly, these same factors can also create anxiety and stress as a new grade brings more school work and a new teacher and new friends brings different expectations, including learning to negotiate new relationships. But, according to the American Psychological Association, “…the start of the school year can also bring stress and anxiety to parents” who are now consumed with how to balance their own busy schedules while navigating their children’s. So, if this sounds like you, consider the following three tips to help navigate this school year with a little less stress:

1. Check-In- 

In order to limit your stress, it important that you communicate effectively with your child or children. One way to do this is to check-in daily with them. Sometimes our children have busier schedules than we do, resulting in them forgetting to inform us about appointments, practices, school events, etc. By checking in with your child, you demonstrate concern about their daily activity. Most importantly, however, it gives you the opportunity to find out first hand and ahead of time if you will need to rearrange your schedule to attend one of your child’s extracurricular activities or school events, or make arrangements for your child to attend.

2. Collaborate- 

There will be times when it will seem impossible for you to be at work on time, leave work in the middle of the day, or leave work early while trying to get your child (or multiple children) to school on time, tutoring sessions, afterschool programs, and various school and social events. Identifying and working with those in your support system can also limit your stress. This might include a spouse, a neighbor, a friend, or a family member. Let them know your needs and work out a schedule. Enlisting the help of the parents of your child’s friends can also help alleviate stress. Talk to parents who have children in your child’s class or who participate in the same activities as your child. Discuss options that would allow you to trade off responsibilities with other parents. Perhaps you would be willing to take their child to school if they would be willing to pick your child up and keep them until you get off work. Or maybe they would be willing to take the children to football practice if you agree to take them to band practice. In this way, you help each other and you develop relationships with the parents of the children whom your child interacts with daily.

3. Schedule Time for You- 

Think about it. You are deliberate about setting a time to get up in the mornings, go to bed at night, get to work, conduct meetings, get the children to school and extracurricular activities, etc. It only makes sense that you be just as deliberate about setting aside time for yourself. In order to reduce your stress, you must set aside time to rejuvenate, replenish, and restore. Give yourself some quiet time to get in touch with your needs. Allow yourself to do something that you enjoy daily. Whether a short walk or run, watching your favorite soap opera, reading a few pages of your favorite book, or enjoying some quality grown folk time with your significant other or friends, setting aside time for your own needs is important.

Stress can negatively impact your physical and mental health. It can also negatively impact your relationship with your children and others. If you find that your stress or anxiety persists, seek assistance from a physician or mental health provider. Remember the less you’re stressed, the better you can help your child successfully settle into a new school year.

Dr. Bates is a licensed pyschotherapist. For more information about her, visit her at www.drdbates.com or on Twitter: @SelfSOULstice.