Summer break is winding down, families are returning from vacation, school supplies are flying off the shelves, and teachers are back in their classrooms diligently preparing for another academic year. As the first day of school approaches, the relaxing days of sleeping in and neglecting routines are replaced with a variety of stressors. Whether your child is starting kindergarten or middle school, the best way to combat stress during the coming weeks is planning and preparation. This should ensure your family starts the school year off in a successful and sustainable way.
Here are some tips to help with preparing for back-to-school
- Establish a daily routine and stick with it. From waking up until bedtime, every aspect of the school day is more productive when there is a routine in place. Make a chart for important tasks and activities that can be easily followed by your child.
- Emphasize the importance of proper nutrition. Make sure there is a plan for healthy breakfasts, lunches, and after-school snacks. Allow your child to participate when making grocery lists so there are plenty of desirable but nutritious options available. You can promote autonomy by making some items easily accessible for your child to prepare for themselves.
- Create a designated workspace with plenty of school supplies. If your child knows where everything is located and has a specific work area, they will be more independent when it comes to homework and school projects. Allow them to personalize their space with decorations and special supplies to bring a little joy to the daily grind of homework.
- Work smarter not harder. School mornings can easily become chaotic without proper preparation. Pack lunches the night before and put them in the refrigerator. Part of your child’s morning routine can be to get the lunch and put it in their backpack. Have school bags packed and in a designated place before going to bed. Frantically searching for books or last night’s homework leads to a mad dash out the door and creates stress for parents and children. If everything is ready to go for school that day, you can focus on breakfast and spending a little quality time talking about the day ahead. This will make for a more peaceful morning.
Children, even the younger ones, can take on a variety of age appropriate responsibilities. Preparing for back-to-school by implementing these strategies at home, will take some of the stress off you and teach your children important self-management skills. Initially, it will take practice and involve consistent reminders, but with a little time and effort your family will function as a team rather than a one-person show.
Lori Lite is the founder of Stress Free Kids and has authored 12 books. Stress Free Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Build Self-Esteem, Manage Stress, and Reduce Anxiety has been named a Best Stress Management Book of All Time. Angry Octopus Color Me Happy, Color Me Calm has been awarded the Mom’s Choice Award. Lori’s content is featured in hundreds of media outlets, including CBS News, CNN Living, WebMD, The New York Times, Family Circle, and Parenting Magazine.