The start of the school year brings stress for everyone. Teachers, parents, students, and even random people have to deal with extra traffic, new schedules, and a heavier workload. All of this brings on a new load of stress and anxiety. As a parent, managing all of this is vital. Here are 6 tips for managing that back-to-school stress you might be feeling.
1. Learn to identify it
It’s not always easy to identify stress in children since they don’t know how to verbalize it. Look for red flags like complaints of headaches, stomachaches, difficulty sleeping, or a change in behavior. Parents need to identify there is a problem before they can fix it. Don’t forget to take the time to identify and manage your own stress too. As a parent, if you aren’t functioning then no one else will either.
2. Listen to the child
It can be easy to dismiss signs of stress in a child as typical kid behavior. But them complaining about not wanting to go to school can be s sign of a deeper problem. Listen to their reasons why they don’t want to go. An issue with a bully, a teacher, or an over-stuffed schedule could be to blame. Tackling these issues head-on is the best way to relieve your child’s stress.
3. Let them sleep
Sleep is the best cure for stress. Kids need more sleep than people realize. Children up to third grade need up to 12 hours per night! Even high school aged kids need 8-10 hours. Make sure you address issues that may be limiting sleep time, like a busy schedule, using technology at night, or anxiety.
4. Plan ahead
Structure is great for the whole family. Knowing about plans ahead of time helps a home run smoothly. Plan for the entire week on Sunday nights. Things like meals, laundry, activities, and free time should be planned out as much as possible in advance. Find a scheduling system that works for you and see how much easier your life becomes!
5. Hammer down homework time
Homework is an annoying part of the school year for parents, teachers, and students. While some schools are working to reduce or get rid of homework altogether, those parents that still have to deal with it know the struggle. Set down homework rules for your kids, like no snacks or technology until it’s done, and stick to them.
6. Make time for nothing
Having an overly structured schedule can be as bad as providing no structure. Kids need free time to express themselves and create their identity. Allow of PDF time- playtime (unstructured), downtime (before bed), and family time.