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Beating the back to school stress

Wave goodbye to back to school stress! Source: Shutterstock

It’s August already, meaning kids will soon be heading back to school refreshed from the summer break. With the new school season comes a new round of stress – from parents and children alike!

Trying to get everything sorted before school starts can be overwhelming, and it’s a time that can be rife with anxiety for kids, especially if it’s a new school.

But if you keep certain things in mind and plan in advance, you can beat the back to school stress and things can run quite smoothly. Here are some tips to minimise anxiety and reduce stress levels as your kids get ready for school:

Identify your kids’ stress signals


Kids display stress in different ways as they are still learning how to express their feelings. Look for red flags such as difficulty sleeping, stomachaches, headaches and changes in behavior.

Also, listen to them when they talk about heading back to school. Are they complaining about returning simply because they don’t want the holiday to be over, or is there a deeper issue like bullying or fear?

If you think they’re suffering from back to school stress or separation anxiety, it’s better to address it early on by taking them to a child therapist or speaking with school administrators early on before the school semester starts.

Re-adjust their sleeping schedule

A few good night’s sleep can eliminate back to school stress. Source: Shutterstock

It’s normal for kids’ bedtimes and nap schedules to go off-track during the holidays, but don’t wait until school starts to adjust their sleeping patterns.

It can take a while for your internal body clock to re-adjust, so start doing it as early as one month before school starts so they aren’t too cranky and throwing tantrums when they have to get up for school.

Good sleeping habits are important for productivity, so parents should put in extra effort to ensure they’re well-rested for the first week of school.

Fight back to school stress by planning ahead

 

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Most parents fret about the first day of school, but it would be better if you plan for the entire first week in advance.

Prepare grocery lists for their school lunches and breakfasts, sort out their bus schedules, uniform dry-cleaning and whatever else must be done as early as possible so the first week is not a mad rush while everyone is still getting adjusted to a new routine.

If you have more than one child, a little preparation can go a long way in preserving your sanity and making sure everything goes according to plan.

Do some reading in advance

Source: Shutterstock

Chances are you’ve already got their school books before the school term starts, so it’s a good idea to get your child(ren) prepared for the coursework they’re likely to face.

Sit down with your child and go through the first few chapters of each subject so they’re not too overwhelmed when classes and homework begins.

It can be very stressful for a child if they fall behind and can demotivate them from studying; plus, they might need a refresher course from the previous term.

Getting them up to speed before school starts prepares them for what’s coming and helps them recall previously-learned information.

Take it easy

Source: Shutterstock

Remember that kids tend to mirror their parents’ behavior and absorb their energy. If you’re always stressing about going back to school, your kids might pick up on it and associate back to school time with stress. Encourage exercise and play while you’re still on break, and get your kids involved in chores for the back to school rush (such as buying school supplies and labelling Tupperware) so it becomes a fun activity they can look forward to.

If you find yourself or the kids becoming overwhelmed, take a break to do something fun like a walk in the park and come back to the task later on.

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