Start The New School Year Off Right
It has been three days since my kids started back to school. I’m counting the days because with all the anticipation and preparation, the stress has been rising in our house. To help our family get through it, I decided to write down five things we can all do to better manage the stress. I thought I would share them with you.
Accept that transitions are hard.
Getting to know new teachers, understanding expectations, managing homework – it’s a lot for kids and parents to take in. This time of year I try to recognize that the new school year can create stress. I try to let go of some of this by remembering that a month from now we’ll all have survived the newness and settled into a routine. Hang in there!
Limit the after school activities.
Here’s my weakness as a parent. I want my kids to try everything and anything. This time of year my girls get excited about new opportunities to participate in sports, band and the science club. During the first month of school, I limit their extracurricular activities to one each week. I know they’ll have homework assignments and will want to have a few “hang-outs” with friends – old and new – so I don’t want any of us to get burned out before the year really gets started.
Get some sleep!
Kids and parents can experience excitement and anxiety when the school year starts. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to fighting off tears, impatience and arguments. In fact, I think this is so important, I’m going to move it to the top of the list next year!
Make good use of “Power Tools.”
In my work, I rely heavily on my calendar to manage meetings, presentations, due dates and more. As my kids have gotten older, I’ve found a family calendar helps all of us at home, too. My daughters know in advance when we have cross country meets so they know not to try to schedule outings with friends that day and time. And my husband and I can better plan for errands and the like when we have one central location for all of the things we need to do and places we have to be.
Remember the REAL priorities.
When all the chaos really lets loose, I try to remember my real priorities; family, learning and keeping commitments. All the other things that clutter my calendar and my emotions – cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, washing the car, three birthday parties and an office get-together – can wait. If I stay focused on what’s really important to me and my family, I can say “no” to the extra demands on our time.
I hope these thoughts give you some ideas for managing the stress that starting the school year up again can create for all of us. Just thinking through some strategies has already helped me and my family. Here’s to a great school year!