How to Feel Less Stress as a Parent when the Kids Go Back to School
Starting a new school year can be super exciting. It can also be stressful for both the child(ren) and the parents. The following are some ways you can transition into a new school year, but leave the stress behind.
Meet the New Teacher
One of the biggest fears many young children have is whether they like and feel comfortable with their new teacher. To address this fear, be sure to take advantage of the school’s open house so your child can see exactly where their new classroom is and who their teacher(s) will be. This also is an opportunity for you to connect with the teacher – building a relationship with the teacher will help you support your child as a learner at home.
Find a Familiar Face or Two
Having a familiar, friendly face in the classroom will help put your child at ease. Consider calling parents from last year’s class to find out which kids may be in your child’s class this year. You can help your child reconnect by scheduling a play date before the new year begins.
Get on a Schedule
Everyone thrives with a solid routine. We also tend to feel less stress when we know the day’s schedule ahead of time. Consider getting some dry erase boards and colorful dry erase board markers to write down the following day’s schedule each night. Knowing which classes and after school activities your child has have will help your child – and you – prepare mentally and you prepare logistically.
Limit Those Extra Curricular Activities
A lot of school-year stress, both for kids and parents, has to do with the number of extra-curricular activities children are involved with. When selecting a sport or other extracurricular, be sure that there aren’t too many practices or obligations each day that will hinder your child’s schoolwork and sleep routine. Also, ensure that you get to have time to connect with your child each day – be it over the dinner, while helping with homework, or while helping them get ready for bed. Those attachment connections help keep you and your child attuned during stressful situations.
Focus on a Solid Bedtime and Morning Routine
From a physiological standpoint, sleep is the crux of mental health. When our sleep becomes impaired, managing the rest of the day – and ourselves – becomes harder. Support your child by ensuring that they have a consistent bedtime routine each night, that they are getting at least eight hours of sleep per night, and that they have a consistent and predictable morning routine during the school week. That means you as the parent also will benefit from practicing a consistent bedtime and morning routine.