5 Tips for keeping your kids (and yourself) sane during back to school season

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Back to school season is a stressful time for everyone involved. Whether you’re gearing up for the end of winter break or the end of summer, transitioning back to the typical school day is a transition for both you and your kids! Today we’ll share five tips to help you reduce your kids’ stress and stay sane while you do it.

1. Make sure you’re prepared
It’s no secret that being unprepared can be a huge source of stress and anxiety for both kids and adults. If your kids are young, you can reduce the stress that they may expereince by simply making sure that they have everything they need to succeed in school. This means checking off their supply list early and making a weekly plan.

A weekly plan will also help to reduce the list of things that you have to do throughout the week and help to keep you stress-free. Sit down on Sunday and prep lunches for the week as well as mapping out some ideas for family dinners.

2. Recognize when your child is stressed
Each child has their own way of expressing stress. Some signs to look out for include difficulty sleeping, headaches, and stomach aches. Another big sign to look out for changes in behavior that may look like outbursts or tantrums. Instead of punishing your child for misbehaving, it is important to talk to them and get to the root of the problem.

3. Be a good listener
In order to get to the root of the problem, you’ll likely need to have a conversation with your child. This will look different depending on the age of your child. If they are younger, see if you can find a book at your local library that talks about feelings. Incorporate this book into your daily storytime to facilitate a conversation about feelings. Remember it is important not to just hear what your child is experiencing, but also to listen! Knowing that you care about their feelings and problems will go further than you think.

4. Establish a routine
Consistency is important in any child’s life, but especially those who are school-age. This can take the stress off of them because they know what to anticipate. The same goes for you, too! You can easily incorporate a before- and after-school routine so that everyone in the house is aware of the expectations for these times of the day. This also helps your child focus on doing homework after school when all they really want to do is watch TV or play. Create a visual schedule with pictures of the activities to help your child who is not reading yet.

5. Remember PDF
The acronym stands for playtime, downtime, family time. You should be sure that your child has time to engage in unstructured play, time to rest, and time to spend with family. This seems like an easy task, but when you get in the school schedule routine, these important elements of life often get brushed under the rug.