Dreading those days when you have to drag your kids back to school? We’ve got 4 easy fixes to help you cut back on your stress levels before they shoot up.
Let’s face it: Back-to-school stress is inevitable for everyone in the family involved. Not just for your kids! Not to mention how stressful it is for teachers as well.
Because hey, nobody loves it when a good vacation has to come to an end.
How your kids feel about going back to school after the summer break is very much like how you feel about going back to work after a blissful weekend.
Think of having to wake your kids up for school and making sure breakfast is ready before they head out the door. Or of all the schoolwork you’d have to help them out with. Or of all the school lunches you’ll have to figure out every single day.
Now those tasks are, in their own way, fulfilling. But we’re pretty sure you don’t look forward to them. At least, not immediately after the school break.
So yeah, back-to-school days come with back-to-school blues, and it’s now up to you to make sure you survive the next few days and weeks of school-related stress.
Now you’re probably not looking forward to diving back into the school routine, not after a few carefree months spent during vacation, but we both know you don’t have much of a choice, do you?
Thankfully, we’re here with a mini cheat sheet you can use to help you deal with the stress that’s bound to come your way. Ready to learn about the 4 easy tips that can help you deal with your back-to-school blues?
Tip # 1: Stay positive despite the stress
The worst way to deal with stress is to get stressed about dealing with it in the first place. So rather than negatively approach the matter, try to get yourself to view things positively.
Of course, you’re not the only one in the family who should be working on staying positive. But if anyone should start working on staying positive first, it should be you.
Now this one’s not going to be easy, with all the tasks piled up your way now that school’s back. But listen: Getting stressed out over the start of school will only result in stressing your kids out further. And you know what that means — it’s a recipe for disaster.
So here are some concrete examples of staying positive regarding back-to-school days.
When your kids groan about having to go back to school and complain about having to wake up early every day. Or when they whine about having to do loads of schoolwork again, help them view things in a more positive light.
A Pew survey found 61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades, and nearly half say they feel a lot of pressure to get into a good college.
Remember to take time for yourself as well — we all need someone we can rely on to keep things in perspective and help us through the difficult times.
School-age children need a good amount of sleep – they have to be healthy and full of energy if they take on the world. So instead of getting angry with them for being tired, tell them that it’s okay to want to catch up on all their lost sleep. SO, yes, sleeping habits are also important to deal with anxiety.
Why not say something like, “Wouldn’t it be great to see your friends in school again?” or highlight something that you know they’ve been looking forward to. That way, their attention will be diverted to something that will negate whatever stress or apprehension they may feel about going back to school.
Remember, stress begins in your mind. The moment you try to shift your mindset, everything else (and the rest of your family) will follow.
Tip # 2: Don't rush yourself when school starts
The last few weeks of every school break is often a whirlwind of activity, with parents rushing to get everything on their To-Buy lists before Day 1 of school. Now before you scramble your way to the nearest Target (or Staples) and get every single school supply your kids need, can you do this one thing?
It can be so easy to get yourself caught up in all that rush and end up stressing yourself out unnecessarily. So before that happens, slow down. Back to school anxiety is a genuine issue that can be addressed by effective communication. Some young people with anxiety will need a professional or specialist to help them feel better.
We’re not saying you don’t have to buy all that stuff your kids need for school. We’re saying that you don’t have to rush yourself to buy everything at once. You can even start buying ahead of time, way before everyone else rushes to buy stuff for their kids.
Another thing. Recheck all the items you have on your list. Do your kids really need all that already? Or are there non-essential items that you can purchase a little later after school has started? Like, tissues or that winter jacket you’ve been eyeing for some time.
Identifying what you can buy at a later time can help you cut back on the amount of stress you’ll face before school starts.
And don’t worry! The stores aren’t going anywhere once school starts, so you’ll never run out of chances to buy any item you’ve relocated to the bottom of your To-Buy list. Plus, there’s always the option of buying stuff online if you want an easier way to shop for your kid’s school items.
Tip # 3: Focus on building that excitement for the school year
There’s always one thing to look forward to in school, so focusing on that is an excellent way to keep your spirits high even as the summer break comes to a close. Talking to your child about what they’re personally excited about can give you the extra push you need to get through the initial back-to-school stress.
Getting them excited to make sure their school supplies are still in working order, for example, can ease the process of picking out school supplies. Asking them about what they’re planning to do during their free time can help you figure out how much homework they should get every night.
It’s important to be honest with yourself and your child when talking about their enthusiasm over returning to school. Stay involved with your child’s school and communicate regularly with the teacher, even if it’s over email. Each family member needs to relax and have some unscheduled time.
Stay on top of how your child is doing academically, socially, and behaviorally. Get organized! You might create a night-before-school special meal; showing enthusiasm yourself is sure to spread to your kids, turning their nervous energy into excitement.
Focus on the good. Turn everything negative around. For example, your child says, “Ugh, I hate school, I do not want to go back!” While you may sympathize with his feelings (remember your old school days?), you need to twist it around. Likely, your child is anxious and stressed about the upcoming school year.
Instead of saying, “I know!” say something like:
“You will get to see all the friends you have not seen all summer;” “You will get to play soccer again once school starts;” or something that tells your child there are good reasons to look forward to school starting.
When you realize that what stresses us out about going back-to-school time is that we’re going to be facing a new set of unknowns, you can quickly turn that stress and anxiety into excitement. Not just for your kids, but for you too.
Tip # 4: Don't hold the stress in
You have to talk it out, momma.
The longer you hold all that stress in, the worse it will be for you. You don’t want to get sick simply trying to hide all that stress beneath a facade of calm. And the same goes for your kids too. Hey, you may also feel nervous about their new environment, new classroom, new structure, and new routines.
Back to school anxiety is real, and it can be calmed with good communication. Children and adults tend to thrive with a consistent schedule. Before the school year begins, plan the weekly a.m. and p.m. routine and do your best to keep to it.
Whether it stems from COVID stress or anxiety about social acceptance, it is normal for children and parents to experience anxiety and stress when starting the new school year. After all, school and social relationships are a huge part of a child’s life.
The start of a new school year introduces a vast number of changes. You may feel nervous about starting school for the first time. Find what works best for your child and encourage them to use that technique whenever they need it.
Troubles with teachers, other students, or a class are just a few of the stresses that can keep many kids from enjoying school—and often, parents feel helpless to assist their children.
If you sense that their back-to-school anxiety may be rooted in something more serious, such as an anxiety disorder or a problem with a bully, talk with your child, your child’s teacher, and the school counselor.
It can be tempting to just bottle all your emotions up for the sake of “positivity,” but that strategy can easily backfire on you in the long run. Ease back-to-school anxiety with your kids by talking it out.
Plan the week out each weekend; spend some time gathering your thoughts and plans for the week ahead. Write down appointments (both yours and your kids’), extracurriculars, playdates, meetings, and even downtime. By writing in time for downtime, exercise, and other “self-care”-related activities, you’re more likely to stick to them.
With that being said, plan a “final hoorah” weekend at the beach or the mountains for your family. It will de-stress both you and your kids and remind them that just because school is in session doesn’t mean they can’t still have fun on the weekends.
So what can you do?
Discuss with your family whatever is stressing you out. Discuss. Not rant. Not complain. Not whine. Just plain, relaxed conversation on what you dread the most about going back to school. You know, like you’re talking about the weather.
By having a family discussion, you’ll have a better picture of what your kids are going through. This will help you develop a better game plan as you tackle the upcoming back-to-school season.
You don’t have to limit that discussion to just your family members. You can definitely talk your feelings out to a trusted friend. Someone you know would understand the emotional roller coaster ride you’re about to go through now that vacation days are over.
And believe it or not, letting out all that steam inside of you can do wonders in lowering your stress levels. Plus, it will also help you and your kids handle the stress better, now that you know how everyone feels about going back to school.
Found this article helpful? Share it with a friend, and don’t forget to check out our other posts!