My daughter is starting kindergarten and my son is starting 3rd grade next week - it's safe to say, I'm panicking a bit. I see tons of stuff offering help and tips for students to successfully transition back to school but do you have anything for the parents? For me, my child heading to school feels like a transition for both of us. I definitely allow myself to get consumed by the stress of preparing for the new school year. Do you have any tips to help me deal with my own back-to-school stress?
I'm so happy you're seeking support for yourself to manage the stress you're feeling! To your point, there is certainly an overwhelming amount of attention placed on the student when preparing to return back to school. But, I agree, the transition back to school involves the entire family. You, as the caregiver, often need to purchase supplies, buy new clothes, and pack lunches, all while ensuring your kids are both mentally and physically prepared to return to school.
So, here are 5 tips to help you manage that back-to-school stress, as a parent:1. Keep it all on a calendar.
As soon as you know the date of an event (back-to-school nights, field trips, after-school activities, etc.), put it on a calendar. Display this calendar in a highly visible spot or have a shared digital calendar with your family. And with 2 kids, you'll really need to track these essential dates in one spot to help you feel cool and calm.
2. Set your stations.
Create a working "lunch station" by keeping designated lunch items in a specific spot so you or your kids can locate them and quickly pack lunches. In addition, create a designated space to house your important school papers (field trip permission slips, teacher announcements, etc.).
3. Establish a routine.
Start the back-to-school routine a week before the first day of school. Establish consistent morning, after-school, and night routines for both you and your student. Create a checklist of steps in each routine to make it easier for the entire family to follow. If your kindergartener is not reading yet, then pictures of the steps they need to take can work well!
4. De-stress and reflect.
Set aside time to unplug from all of your devices. Allocate time each night to allow both you and your children to reflect on the day. You'll also want to allow time for yourself! Take time to meditate, read that book you've been putting off, and just de-stress.
5. Don't do it alone.
Work together with your kids to create some of the systems at home to keep track of homework, events, and daily routines. Reflect on what works, and what doesn't work and keep solving problems as a team.
Good luck for a great start to your kids' school year - you've got this!