A Time for Stress, Scheduling and School Supplies

Back-to-School time can make parents stress over school supplies, their children's transition back to classwork and their own transitions at work or home. Anytime the seasons change, the school year begins or ends, a family moves homes or  any other transitional period, we can face some real unexpected or complex challenges. Most adults don’t typically do well with the “unknown” that an impending change creates and our kids can feel similarly. It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed and a little unsure.  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

So, how to deal with our own anxieties as parents, teachers or other professionals working with kids? How do we help our kids cope more successfully at the same time? Let’s start with the basics of how adults can be successful at the beginning of the school year:

  1. Take care of yourself in order to take care of others.
  2. Lower your expectations of being the perfect parent or teacher. That doesn’t exist.
  3. Seek help and support when you need it.  You don’t have to go this alone without complaint or a pick-me-up of your own.
  4. Work with and organize with the other parents or professionals in your kids’ lives.
  5. Communicate with your spouse or partner to share the load if you can.
  6. Get organized ahead of time. Get the supplies a few weeks before school starts.

Here are a few ways to support the kids in your life as the school year starts:

  1. Be clear with your expectations (household chores, homework time, etc.).
  2. Keep a schedule/routine.
  3. Have consistent wake times and bedtimes now that the school year is here.
  4. Less screen time, more interpersonal interaction or time outside (before it gets too cold!).
  5. Let your child be bored. Increase the need to use imagination and be creative.
  6. Spend time with your child. Don’t wait for the perfect time or event.
  7. Open the door to communication without interrogating them.
  8. Empathize. In their world,  a day of school may sound way worse than that all-day meeting about the process of building a process you just sat through at work.
  9. Problem solve with them.
  10. Take breaks if highly emotional or a heated situation arises. 

While this is not an exhaustive list of tips and ideas, healthy communication will increase healthier interactions and smarter choices for both you and the kids in your life. Get involved in your kids’ lives but don’t overextend yourself. Ask for help when you need it. You’re not alone and just do the best that you can. 

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
- Jane D. Hull

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Meghan Reitz

Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 19 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan here.