Learning how to reduce stress associated with the start of the school year can make a great difference in your life and in the life of your kids.
By being well prepared, you provide a great example to your children, you create a good transition between home and school life and you can even save money!
Of course, planning is key if you want to reduce your stress levels for the upcoming school year.
This page contains lots of tips for children and parents on how to reduce stress related to the upcoming school year.
How to Reduce School Related Stress – Kids and Stress
A new school year can obviously be stressful to many kids and teenagers, especially if it’s a brand new school with new schoolmates. With possible bullying added to the mix, you want to ensure your kids will be ready for school physically, mentally and emotionally.
Fortunately, you can help your kids enjoy a smoother transition if you start planning ahead. Here are a few tips on how to reduce stress this upcoming year:
- If you’ve recently moved to a new area, spend some time at the mall with your children or teenagers (OK, teenagers may be in that phase when they don’t want to be seen next to you, but do your best;). The idea is to see what other children/teenagers are wearing in your new area. You will also want to contact your school to ensure you are familiar with their dress code, if applicable. With this in mind, go shopping to get appropriate clothing for your kids. Fitting in a new school environment is already hard enough, might as well look the part if you can!
- Find out how much a meal at the cafeteria costs and/or what options are available for people who bring in their lunches. Is there only 1 microwave for 1,000 kids? Pack a healthy lunch that your child will enjoy. If you’re opting for the cafeteria option, make sure your child has enough money to cover his meal. If your child is prone to anxiety attacks, you can include a discreet note with an encouraging message in his/her lunch bag.
- Sit down with your children (if they are old enough) and agree on a weekday routine. Based on their extra-curricular activities and other schedule requirements, select a wake-up time and a bedtime. Stick to it 5 days a week and maintain the same hours on weekends, if at all possible. Studies have proven time and again that maintaining a steady sleep routine is a fantastic way to keep your circadian rhythm in check. Learn more about your sleep-wake cycle here.
- If you give your children an allowance, sit down with them and openly discuss the family’s financial situation. Take this opportunity to explain the differences between "needs" and "wants". For example, getting a roof over their heads and heating the house is a requirement, but going out to dinner is only a "want". Show them your monthly budget and where the money is going (food, rent, utilities, etc.). It’s often a great way to ensure your kids understand and accept a lower allowance if it helps ensure your family’s needs are covered first.
- If your children don’t always do as well as they could at school, give them an incentive to excel this upcoming year. For example, if your child gets an average B+ grade or above, then they can receive a reward of some sort. It could be a financial reward, a special trip to a place they really want to see or even a sleep-over at your house with their best friend. Find something that your kids really care about and make sure you are ready to provide this reward when they achieve good grades!
How to Reduce Stress for Parents
Of course, the start of a new school year is also a very stressful time for parents. Additional expenses, more activities to fit into your already busy schedule, and an overall change of pace can be stressful indeed, especially when you are not prepared. Here are some ideas on how to reduce stress this upcoming school year:
- If you’re returning home from a vacation, give yourself plenty of time before school starts. For example, get home at least 2 weeks before school starts again. This should give you plenty of time to go through any school correspondence and take care of any bills or shopping trips before school starts.
- Talk to other parents in your neighborhood. Is carpooling an option for any of your kids’ new activities?
- Get the required list of school supplies as early as you can and compare it to what you already have at home. Are your kids’ markers and pencils from last year still in good shape? What items can you delete from that list because you already have them? Once you’ve updated the list, go shopping with your kids with a budget in mind. Don’t buy anything that isn’t on the list.
- Talk to your husband/wife/partner/neighbor and determine who will be responsible for picking up the kids for certain activities. For example, you can pick them up from school and bring them to and from soccer practice while your husband agrees to take care of them for their music lessons.
- If your children will be attending a new school, make sure you familiarize yourself with the school’s rules and regulations so you don’t inadvertently send your kid to school in an inappropriate outfit. Make sure they have everything they need on the first school day.
- Plan your kids’ lunches ahead of time to ensure they will actually like them and eat them. Once their meal routine has been agreed on, add the ingredients to your weekly shopping list and ask your kids to help you prepare their lunches the evening before.
Of course, there will always be unexpected things when school starts. Do your best to be ready ahead of time and you’ll experience a LOT less stress!
Remember this: Preparation leads to relaxation!
Other Tips on How to Reduce Stress
You can discover more stress relief techniques by reading the articles listed in the footer.