Whether you have a little one starting kindergarten, going into 3rdgrade, or starting a whole new school, the beginning of the school year can be stressful and full of emotions. Your kids are excited and nervous – and so are you! We’re going to highlight tips to help you with both excitement and stress this school year.
Let’s face it – everyone is excited about a new school year. We love to see our children grow and challenge themselves and learn new things. And while you’ll miss your little ones, you’ll also be glad to have a little extra breathing room while they’re gone for part of the day.
If you have a child entering kindergarten or a new grade that means middle-school or high school for the first time, your kids are probably extra pumped. They have new back-to-school clothes to wear, fun school supplies and are excited to go on a new adventure.
However, once the adrenaline of excitement wears off, you’ll be left in the “grind” of the school year, so keep that in mind. Half of the battle is mentally preparing for the negative emotions that will inevitably appear at some point.
You’re probably more adept at handling your emotions than your kids, so be there to guide them once the excitement wears off. Remind them of the fun things they enjoy at school and help them to focus on the positives.
It’s also important to keep in mind that when you’re really pumped up, you can overcommit yourself. You may feel like supermom, so you sign up to chair the PTA, volunteer one day a week in the library AND provide snacks once a month for the class.
A few months in, these commitments may be too much for you to handle. Instead, we like to live by the motto of “under promise and over deliver.” It’s better to say no and then offer to lend a hand when you’re available than to commit and then back out when others are depending on you.
But There’s Also Stress
Oh, the stress. Because like we said, the excitement does wear off – quickly. Eventually, the grind sets in. Mornings are chaos as you try to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door with lunches packed or money to buy lunch at school. You ended the summer pinning the picture-perfect lunches you had every intention of packing, and now you’re just trying to make sure they’re fed.
And the evenings are packed full of homework, papers to sign, dates to remember, dinner to make and baths to be had – only to do it all again tomorrow. As the weeks wear on you can add friend drama, school subjects that are increasingly difficult and boredom. Somehow the stress creeps in slowly, and you may not even realize it until you’re in deep.
When it feels like the stress is overwhelming you, as a parent, take some time for yourself. If you work full-time, take a personal day and go get pampered or do something you love. No husband, no kids, just you! Catch up with a friend over breakfast and get a pedicure.
When you see the stress creeping in on your kids, don’t get mad at them. They need your help in learning how to deal with stress – a tool that will benefit them throughout life. Talk them through why they are stressed and help them to come up with potential solutions. Try to lead them, but not give them the answers. Instead, let them figure it out on their own – with your guidance.
And once you’ve helped them manage their stress, go have some FUN! Plan a family weekend where you play outside and eat lots of ice cream – or whatever your favorite things are. Forget about the chores and put your phones on silent. All your other commitments can be put on hold for some real, true quality time. Treat it as a mini reset to help you all get back on track for the weeks ahead.
The spectrum of emotions during the school year is broad, but we think most of them fit under the umbrellas of excited or stressed. We hope these tips and examples help as you navigate through another school year with your kiddos.