From excitement to nervousness, sending the kids back to school can be a huge mix of emotions for parents and kids alike.
For parents, the back-to-school period can also bring with it more than its fair share of stress, and this stress can take many forms.
There’s the financial stress, time management stress, plus all the worries around how your child will handle being at school after two years of on and off lockdowns.
This year doesn’t have to be so stressful. With a few things in mind, we can turn the return to school into a time of optimism and positivity.
How parents can manage back to school stress
Be in the moment
Kids grow up so quickly. You don’t want to become so absorbed in worrying about what's coming next that you end up missing out on the joys of the present moment.
As your child embarks on their school journey for the year, take in every part of the moment. Not everything will be perfect and there might be a few tears but making a conscious effort to be fully present can help shift the mood from nervous to excited.
The more you know, the more at ease you can feel. Get to know your child’s teacher, the programs the school offers as well as their rules and policies.
If you are able, volunteering at your child’s school can also help alleviate some stress as it gives you more of an insight to how things work and a better understanding of what goes on in your child’s day.
Getting involved can also help you feel more empowered to voice any worries you have about your child or the school and work with teachers to come up with solutions.
Set a budget
Financial pressures are a huge stressor for many families around this time of year. Creating a back-to-school budget can ease some of the financial pressures of going back to school, and the earlier you start the better.
Work out what your child needs for the upcoming term- books, stationery, uniforms, backpack etc, and set aside a small amount of money each month to cover these costs when the time comes.
You can set a budget for the whole year or take it one term at a time. Try a few different things to see what works the best for you and your family.
Get routines sorted in advance
It can be so easy for routines to go out the window when the kids are on holidays, making things much harder when it’s time to get up early for school.
To make the transition from holidays to school easier for everyone, start making adjustments to your child’s routine a couple of weeks before they go back.
Things like going to bed and waking up earlier by 15 minutes each day, getting them to wind down without screens before bed and setting regular mealtimes are all things that can help kids adjust more easily to their back-to-school routine as well as reducing stress for you.
Between working, keeping the house running, making meals and helping kids with homework, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed.
Remember, you don’t have to go through difficult times alone. Reach out to a loved one, someone you trust or a helpline for support if the stress is getting too much.
Looking after your own wellbeing is essential as a parent, and although it might seem impossible at times even something as small as eating breakfast and drinking enough water is a good place to start.
Going back to school is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking for both kids and parents.
By being in the moment, preparing finances and routines in advance and taking care of yourself, both you and your child are in a better place to be able to handle any stressful moments that come up and turn the back-to-school period into one of excitement and optimism for the year ahead.