Does this sound like a typical day for your family? Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast (maybe), feed kids, search for backpacks, pack lunch, find shoes under the couch, run late to school, run late to work, work all day, run errands, pick up kids, soccer practice, forget to pick up dry cleaning, make dinner, homework, bathe kids, put kids to bed, flop on the couch, sigh.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. You are one of the millions of parents juggling multiple commitments and obligations as you do your best to raise your family. And few times of year are more stressful or busy than back to school time. Attunetion can help you manage the back to school blues.
We all know that managing daily stress can lead to happier, more connected families and fewer negative outcomes for our kids. When we feel like we have a handle on life’s daily tasks, we are more able to really TUNE in to what’s going on with our kids. For example, if you’re trying to fold laundry, email your boss and make dinner at the same time, you may miss the failing report card or note from the principle that your child tries to sneak past you. In a world full of distraction and multitasking, it’s so important for parents to STOP and tune in to your kids. And you can only do that when your stress is under control.
The Attunetion Approach can help you get a handle on back to school stress so you can focus on what matters most; the well being of your family!
What is the right thing to pay attention to?
- Ask yourself what was stressful for you and your kids last year. Every family and every child is different. Reflecting on what was hard about last year and how you dealt with it will help prepare you for this year.
- Ask your kids questions. Try asking, “What can I do to help you at homework time?” or ‘What would make the morning less hectic for you?”
- Notice what events and times of day are most stressful for you. If getting out the door in the morning is always a struggle, that’s where you need strategies to manage time and stress.
How can you think about the right time when it comes to back-to-school stress?
- The best time to begin managing stress is NOW! Don’t wait until the stress takes a toll on your family.
- Think about the ages of your children. What are their fears and worries that you need to make time to attend to?
- For a preschooler, they may worry about separation from you, being in a new place, or making friends.
- For a middle school child, they may be nervous about fitting in, peer pressure, or being bullied.
- If you child is in high school, ask them if they are stressed about extra-curricular activities, tests or college applications.
Five easy tips to manage back-to-school stress:
- Get ready for school the night before by making lunches, packing backpacks and laying out clothes.
- Make time to take care of yourself! Take a walk, a bath, or meet a friend for lunch.
- Make a family calendar. Post it in the kitchen and update regularly so everyone knows what’s going on.
- Share duties with other parents. Take turns picking kids up or taking them to practice.
- When your kids get home from school, set aside 20 minutes for a snack, a walk around the block, and ask how their day was before jumping in to homework.
Bottom line: You’ll get though the back to school transition! Listen to yourself and your family, be confident in your parenting and remember to pay Attunetion!