As the back-to-school season rolls around so does the back-to-school stress and anxiety that many parents face. A study reported in the New York Times found that 57% of the 2000 parent participants of school-aged children (aged 5-18) revealed the back-to-school season to be the most stressful time of year.
As another school year rolls around here are five tips for how parents can healthily manage their back-to-school stress.
Weeknights can become stressful and overwhelming when you are trying to help your children with homework, prepare dinner, extracurricular activities, and everything else life throws your way. Planning your meals for the week ahead can help alleviate the stress of deciding what is for dinner each night. Once your meals are planned, make a grocery list of what items you will need for the week and go grocery shopping once. This will help to avoid running to the store for last-minute ingredients or impulsively eating out. And lastly, prep your food ahead of time if you can. Having your produce washed and pre-cut will save you hours preparing dinners on busy weeknights.
Set Routines & Stick to Them
Having routines set in place will help not only you but also your child’s stress levels. Routines provide a sense of stability and security. You know what to expect each day and can prepare for it. For example, every night before bed you set your child’s packed backpack by the front door. This will help to eliminate the morning stress of finding your child’s lost homework or permission slip.
Focus on the Positive
It can be easy to get lost in the negative, what-if thoughts regarding your child going back to school. However, it is important to remember that children thrive during the academic year. They work hard to grasp the fundamentals of math, excel on the sports field, or advance their reading level. As we gear up toward another school year don’t fret about what could go wrong. Instead, acknowledge the positives. Your child is becoming an educated, independent individual who is learning how to navigate the world. If you do find your child is struggling, many schools offer support to help them, so that they can also focus on the positive!
Take Care of Yourself
As parents, one of our main priorities is making sure our child is taken care of – properly nourished, with daily movement, and a quality night’s sleep. But what about you? Are you prioritizing that same level of care for yourself? You are not able to show up as your best self if you’re not taking care of yourself and your body. When we feel stressed energy is in our bodies and we need to get it out. Research has shown that one 20-minute walk per week can reduce stress, and anxiety, and boost mood and energy. Find the movement that brings you joy.
Mindfulness increases your ability to be present in the current moment. This leads to reducing stress and better engagement with your child. If you’ve never explored mindfulness before, start small. Begin by appreciating the smell of your morning coffee or the cool crisp fall mornings that are upon us. Find something within your day that brings you joy and take a moment to be present and embrace it. This builds up the skill of being in the moment. You can then apply it to be in the moment with your children.
As we transition into another back-to-school season it is important to remind yourself that you are not alone in feeling stress during this time. However, that doesn’t mean you need to remain in a state of stress. There are steps you can take to alleviate your stress levels by planning your week, setting routines for yourself and your kiddos, and acknowledging the positives of watching your children grow. Remember to take time out of your day to take care of yourself and have mindful moments throughout the day.
The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre wishes your family a stress-free back-to-school season!