How To Cut Down The Stress Of Back To School

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Mom and child on a couch huggingBack to school stress is something that both kids and parents deal with. Not only is it stressful for your kids to figure out how to get back on track with a school routine, but parents are often overwhelmed with the list of school supplies, new schedules to deal with, and that never-ending back to school paperwork that all parents have to update every fall.

If you are a parent who is wondering how to cut down the stress of back to school, then you’re in luck. I have some tips that will help you begin back to school season with a better handle on things.

Get Your Sleep – First and foremost, your sleep is important. Not only do kids need to start a better sleep routine about two weeks before the first day of school arrives, but parents need to start getting adequate sleep as well.

Back to school season means sports, new schedules, extra-curricular activities and far earlier mornings than over the summer. This means that parents need to try to maintain a healthier bedtime so that they can keep their exhaustion levels lower. Stress is higher when you are not well rested, so while you may want to binge-watch that favorite show or play on social media, get yourself to bed at a reasonable time so that you can reduce the challenges that come with sleep deprivation.

Shop as Early as Possible – Yes, those school supply lists can be incredibly overwhelming – especially if you have more than one child. The needs of each new school year seem to get larger and larger as your kids enter new grades and get older. For many areas, back to school supply lists have been coming in later and far too close to the start of the school year to allow for leisurely shopping. This is why you need a plan.

There are many items that you can predict may be on school supply lists, so begin picking those items up as early as possible. Pencils, sharpeners, erasers, colored pencils, notebooks – think through the items that your children have used in the past. If you have older children, try to use previous school supply lists as a gauge. Watch for sales and pick up a few things here or there until the list is finally released. Once you have it, plan for a single day where you will pick up the rest of the items. Get it done and off of your to-do list. And the school supplies that you purchase that weren’t on the list? Add them to a bin and stash them away for next year. 

Stock up on Healthy Food – Since back to school season usually means a pretty busy, chaotic schedule, it is time to think about the healthy snack options that you can stock up on now. While you may be thinking of after-school snacks for the kids, it is important that you remember that you’ll need some energy to get through the crazy days of back to school season as well.

In the weeks before school starts, stock up on some healthy grab-and-go snacks. You are looking for items that are easy to run out the door with, put in a baggie and keep in your purse, or scarf down in a few mouthfuls. We’d all like to be able to have a leisurely snack or meal, but when it isn’t possible, having those healthier options available will be a lot better for your brain than chips and sweets. Look for foods such as protein bars, smoothies, and fruits – all are great at keeping energy up and anxiety down as you navigate your back to school routine.

Plan the Schedules You Know – The unknown is often the source of the greatest anxiety, so do what you can to overcome that early. Pull out a physical or digital calendar and start writing things down. If your child has piano every Tuesday, write it in. If you know that you will be on the road and at a sports game every Monday and Wednesday, add it.

Being prepared and coming up with solutions for what you do know about will help to resolve some of the stress right off the bat. If Thursday is the evening that you know you will be your child’s chauffeur to three different activities, make sure that you are ready. Plan some snacks for both you and your child, bring something to do in the car while you wait, and plan any bathroom breaks accordingly. For those of us who struggle with incontinence, be sure to prepare with your Depend® FIT-FLEX Underwear® and keep an extra in your bag just in case. With a fast absorbing material, you can feel confident knowing you’re protected. No reason for your body to be caught off-guard when you can be prepared beforehand! 

Strive for “Good Enough” – While you’ll probably see other parents looking like they have it all together and that everything is running smoothly on social media, the reality is that most people only post the positive moments of their life online. Remember that “good enough” is perfectly acceptable as a parent who is dealing with back to school season.

Stop striving for perfection or setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations. Cut yourself some slack and remember that “perfect” is unattainable. If your intentions are good and you have been doing the best that you can, that has to be good enough. We all grow and change and get better, so keep moving in the right direction and give yourself a break. You are not doing yourself any favors by competing or comparing yourself to anyone else online. Don’t continue to put yourself in that position. 

There are many ways that you can work to navigate the murky waters of back to school season when it comes to parental stress. It is not just kids that suffer from anxiety when back to school season starts. There is a lot more responsibility placed on parents shoulders to get their children back into a routine and ready to take on a new school year with success. Hopefully these tips will help you cut down the stress so that you can fly into the new school year without feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

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