Heading back to school at the end of the summer can be stressful for parents and kids alike. Not only are there school supplies and new clothes to buy, but there is also an adjustment back to early mornings and hectic schedules.
To ease the transition from summer to school with minimal stress, here are a few back-to-school tips that can help keep everyone happy and healthy this year.
1. Establish Routines
In the two to three weeks leading up to a new school year, get your family on a typical schedule for school by establishing—or reestablishing—daily and weekly routines. Ensuring everyone is back on track before school starts can significantly reduce stress and chaos during the back-to-school readjustment period, which can be rough if you and your family aren’t prepared.
Constant communication is also crucial for minimizing back-to-school stress. Be sure to check in regularly with members of your family, about morning, after-school, and evening routines. Be flexible and consider where any changes can be made to eliminate potential stressors. Don’t forget to keep yourself in mind. Your schedule and stress levels matter too!
2. Plan Ahead
A great way to reduce daily stress is to get everything ready the night before school, rather than in the morning. Make sure everyone is in the habit of preparing lunches, packing backpacks, and picking out clothes for the next day before bed on weeknights. This way there isn’t a mad dash to collect homework, eat breakfast, pack lunch, and find the perfect outfit before school and work in the morning.
Additionally, whether it’s for the upcoming week or the following month, planning ahead is one of the best back-to-school tips for minimizing stress. Keeping track of weekly activities, events, appointments, meetings, and practices, on a weekly or monthly calendar provides a handy snapshot the whole family can reference. This will hopefully reduce any last-minute surprises that could throw off your daily schedules.
3. Schedule Downtime
Give everyone time to acclimate and ease into their new fall schedules. In those first few weeks back from summer break, make sure that each family member, including yourself, has some downtime to relax, play, and generally decompress after longs days at school or work. If everyone is overloaded with daily activities stress levels can peak very quickly.
Although it may seem impossible to even get a few seconds to yourself once school starts it’s important to find time to relax and be alone. A great way to get some alone time is early in the morning before everyone else wakes up. If you’re not a morning person, try waking up five or ten minutes earlier each day in the weeks leading up to school starting. You can prepare a fresh pot of coffee and schedule it to brew first thing the next morning and have a moment of solitude.
Back-to-school season doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow these guidelines and everyone can ease their way into the fall.