Get Ready for Back to School
Heading back to school can be a stressful time for both you and your child, although your stresses are usually different. If your child is starting a new school, that can add even more stress and anxiety to the normal back to school pressures.
What if you’ve decided to homeschool and this is your first year? Less stress for your child, yet significantly more stress for you. It’s a new experience and you want to make sure you get it right, however since you’ve never done it before, it can be challenging to figure it all out.
If the person going back to school is you after years of not being in school, you may be stressing about how you’ll manage it. If you’ve been out of school for years, or even decades, school is not what it used to be and your study habits are a distant memory.
Let’s take a look at the various kinds of stress that getting ready to go back to school can invoke, then look at some ways to reduce that stress.
Back to School Stressors for Kids and Teenagers
You may think that your kids are only worried about getting to school on time, what they’ll have for lunch, and how they’ll manage all their homework. In today’s world, there are so many other things to worry about. And many of those things they’re probably not discussing with you.
- Violence – Will they be hurt or see others get hurt? How will their school keep them safe? This goes beyond the rise in school shootings. It also has to do with bullying, fighting, and sexual attacks.
- Bullying – Will they be bullied or see other kids get bullied? Will they be cyberbullied? How will they handle it?
- Peer Pressure – Will they make friends? Will they be accepted by their classmates?
- Grade Pressure – How will they manage to keep up with all the school work they’re expected to do? Will they be overloaded with homework? Will they be able to keep their grades up?
- Sports Pressure – Are they good enough to make the team? Will they be embarrassed and humiliated if they can’t perform?
- Sexual Pressure – Will they be pressured to dress a certain way, hang out with a certain group of people, or date?
These are just the worries of kids who come from good, safe, financially secure homes. What about the kids who come from low-income homes? They also have to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to get lunch and compete with their peers by dressing right and attending school functions. Kids who come from abusive homes also have fears of their abuse being discovered and what it might mean for them.
Going back to school these days is not easy. It’s no wonder that it can cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
Back to School Stressors for Adults
Being a parent of a child going back to school can create a significant amount of stress worrying about all the above issues for your child. You may also worry about how you’ll help them manage their stress, find balance in their life, and still keep up with expectations.
What if you’re going back to school yourself? We think it will be easier as an adult, and it can be, yet there are different stressors to consider.
- Getting Back in the Habit – Whether it’s been one year or twenty, creating good study habits is a hard thing to do if you’re life is already busy and full. How will you manage your life, your family, your job, and school?
- Success – Will you manage to be successful, pass all your classes, and do it in the time schedule you’ve planned? If the reason you’re going back to school is due to a job promotion, there is added pressure to be successful and do well.
- Pressure – What kind of pressure and expectations will your professor place on you? Will you be able to live up to the course requirements?
If you’ve decided to homeschool your child for the first time, stress about how you’ll manage your schedule and if you’ll be successful in your teaching methods can cause anxiety. There’s a lot of added responsibility with homeschooling, and if you’re new to it, the pressure can cause a significant amount of stress.
As you can clearly see, the back to school season can cause a significant amount of stress and anxiety for anyone who has to deal with it. So how do you handle all of that stress? There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you and your family will experience less stress when going back to school.
Create a Schedule
Get everyone ready by getting back on schedule. Start by getting back in the habit of early bedtimes and early wake-up times at least a week or two before school starts. Being well rested will help everyone be successful and productive.
Everyone works well with known boundaries and set routines. Determine the priorities and create a routine for them. What time is homework time? When is play time? When is it time for a bath?
For kids, their attention span may not be as long as an adult’s so think about that when setting a homework schedule. Be sure to include breaks so that they’re able to be more productive.
Setting rules about when phones can be nearby and the TV can be on is also important.
Whether it’s you or your kids going back to school, having an area designated for schoolwork is a necessity. Even if you share that space with something else, like working in the dining room. Creating a work area will help everyone be in the right frame of mine, study time, when it’s time to get to work. Make sure this area is free from distractions like toys and television.
Early morning rushing around can get the day off to a bad start. Lay out clothes the night before. Place backpacks and sports equipment near the door along with your briefcase, purse, and cellphone. Pack lunches at night. Not only will this make for an easier morning, it will also help you not forget anything important.
Create Your Own Morning Routine
Having a routine for grown-up quiet time in the morning before the kids get up will help you get the day off to a good start and reduce your stress. Having a calmer morning yourself can keep your kids calm and stress free too.
Get up 10-15 minutes before your kids, stretch, meditate for a few minutes, and do a morning cleanse by drinking a mug of warm water with lemon. It flushes out toxins, gives you energy, and boosts your immune system.
Getting ready for back to school is one thing, however dealing with the stress that comes during the school year and helping your child reduce their own stress and anxiety is another. Remember those things we talked about earlier, peer pressure, grade pressure, bullying, and violence. Those are things that can cause stress throughout the year. To deal with them, be ready to show your child some support.
Some kids want to talk about what’s going on at school and others don’t. If they don’t, they’ll still show signs they’re unhappy. They may tell you they don’t want to go to school or that they don’t want to participate in an activity they would normally enjoy. You may also notice their grades suffering in a subject they’re usually good at. Paying attention to these nuances will help you actively listen to both what your child is saying and what they’re not.
Some conversations are more difficult than others, you shouldn’t avoid them. As a parent, you are your child’s biggest supporter and the one they count on more than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to bring up things that need to be discussed. If you’re child isn’t sharing their thoughts on the subject, ask “How does this make you feel?” or “Is there anything you want to know?”
I Don’t Know is Acceptable
We don’t all have the answers to every situation, however we do have the opportunity to learn. It’s okay to tell your child that you don’t know the answer to their question or how to solve their problem, yet be willing to learn together. Buy a book, do a Google search for a good article, or seek professional help.
It can be hard for your child to open up to you; don’t make them regret it with a harsh response. Be gentle and sensitive to how they’re feeling and understand that some topics are just hard for them to discuss.
Spend Time Together
Just spending some quality time with your child with no expectations helps reduce their stress levels, helps them feel secure, and even helps them to open up to you. If you sense that your child is feeling stressed, plan a fun day together and let the conversation happen naturally. You may be surprised at what your child decides to talk about.
Going back to school is full of stress, yet finding ways to prepare yourself in advance and deal with what comes up during the school year can make it easier for everyone involved.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a routine or stressors in life the horses and I can help. Call for a FREE consultation to work through these issues. 970-682-4405. Check out our other great articles on our blog. Until then Listen to the whisper…