Written by: Haley Zimmerman
After three months of summer, kids often aren’t too excited for it to end. Their schedule becomes more structured, they have schoolwork, and they have less free time. A new school year can also be stressful for parents, as they adjust to their child’s new schedule and responsibilities. Here are five things you can do to make back-to-school less stressful:
1. Establish a routine before the first day
The morning of the first day can be stressful and there is usually a learning curve. Already having a framework of what mornings will look like during the school year can help alleviate a lot of that stress and make children and parents feel more confident about the coming months. Not only will having an established routine help that first day go more smoothly, but routines can also increase sleep quality and overall health (Health Benefits of Having a Routine).
2. Go shopping for supplies
While it may make the most fiscal sense to wait to buy supplies until you receive firm supply lists from teachers, doing the bulk of the back-to-school shopping beforehand can ease a lot of anxieties and help parents and children feel more prepared. A lot of stores will have a very limited amount of school supplies by the time the first day rolls around, and this can make it frustrating if a parent has to go to multiple stores to get all of the supplies their child needs. Also, while some teachers might have one or two specific things a child requires for their class, it’s much easier to pick up one thing at the store than 17 things during a time in which a child has already been assigned homework and other responsibilities. Even if a parent ends up buying a few supplies that their child doesn’t end up needing, they can be saved for a future class or project.
3. Make a family calendar
New responsibilities are accrued by families once school starts. Soccer practices, tutoring, and band rehearsals are all too common for school-aged children, and sometimes it can be hard for parents to keep track of a child’s busy schedule, especially if they have multiple children. Having a family calendar can be a useful tool for making sure everyone’s on the same page about people’s commitments and whereabouts on any given day. Having a family calendar can also act as a visual aid that makes it easier for parents to divide responsibilities (Create the Best Calendar System for Your Family).
4. Talk about your worries with someone
Sharing anxieties about the upcoming year can be helpful for both children and parents. We all know it’s not healthy to hold your feelings inside, but even just logically speaking, talking about your worries with someone can also help you gain insight or possible solutions to the problems you’re envisioning (Talking through problems).
5. Start a gratitude journal
Research has found that having a gratitude journal can help alleviate stress and increase people’s overall sense of happiness and well-being (Do Gratitude Journals Really Work?). A new school year can be mentally and physically taxing, so reminding yourself of the things you are grateful for can help put all of the added pressures into perspective. Having a gratitude journal is an easy way to contribute to your mental health during the coming school year.
A new school year can be stressful for families everywhere. Doing things such as taking care of your mental health, preparing for the change in routine, and being open about your worries will help make the adjustment a more pleasant experience for you and everyone else involved.