15 Ways to Beat Back-to-School Stress
Going back to school can be stressful for the whole family—arm yourself with these tips to have the smoothest back-to-school season yet.
If your child still has piles of schoolwork, papers, artwork, and supplies from last year, take an afternoon and go through it with them. Divide it into a “keep” pile and a “throw” pile. Be wary of little hoarders, and try to talk them out of keeping truly unnecessary items, like the gum wrapper a pretty girl gave them. Recycle the “throw” pile, and file away or display the “keep” pile. This little habit of organizing will make both you and your child less stressed when preparing the night before school starts.
Build a worry wall
Help your kids express their anxieties by creating a “worry wall.” Give them a stack of sticky notes, have them write one worry per note, and stick them up on the wall. Remind them that once their worries have been put up on the wall, they don’t have to think about them anymore. To really banish their anxiety, create an “optimism wall”: write a positive note for each worry note. And once your optimism wall is created, tear down the worry wall, because it doesn’t matter anymore!
Express your gratitude
Take a few minutes each day to go around the family and express things you’re grateful for. This can be done before dinner, during breakfast, right before bed, or any time the whole family is together. Taking time to recognize positive moments and blessings will reset your family’s minds to think more about the good things that are happening in their lives, and less about the back-to-school stress.
Talk with other families
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If you or your kids are having anxieties about the school year ramping up, sometimes it helps to reach out to other families with kids the same age. Are they harboring the same kinds of stress? Do they have advice for your family that you maybe didn’t think of? Plus, if the kids are friends, playing together before school starts might get them excited to start school together. Plan an afternoon where you get together with family friends to decompress and ease your worries. Parents, don’t miss these hilarious back-to-school photos that every mom and dad can relate to.
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. And when you’re not stressed out, you’re more likely to give your children the attention and love they need.
Take a deep breath!
Sometimes all it takes is a big, deep breath to help ease your family’s anxieties. Remember that you’ll fall into a routine soon and that this is just part of the parenting process. One day you’ll look back on these years with fondness. You’re doing great! Now, find out the 33 things your child’s teacher wants you to know.
[Sources: USA Today and Shine]