Ways to Ease Back-to-School Stress
Simple Steps Can Calm
All Family Members’ Nerves
beginning of the school year can be a hectic time for all family members, not
just the students.
from lazy summer days to homework, grades, carpool and after-school activities
can take its toll on everyone at home,” said Cecilia Marshall, Ph.D., licensed
psychologist with CareNet Counseling, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
“The key to
reducing school-related stress is strategic communication and planning.”
Marshall shares the following tips about how
parents can keep the entire family on an even keel right from the start of
Listen: What words are
being used when family members talk about school? Do you hear your children
using words like “dread” (as in getting up in the morning), “boring” (as in
“school is so boring”) or “worried” (that my grades will be bad, or I’ll
get in trouble again)?
on the positive:
Reassure your children that most students feel uneasy about going back to
school. Concentrate on the enjoyable aspects of school such as seeing old
friends and making new ones. If finding a positive topic is challenging, try a
neutral or "off the wall" question ("What color dress/shirt do
you think your teacher will wear tomorrow?").
wait until a problem arises: Meet your children’s teachers as soon as possible to
let them know what your children need to perform their best. Make sure that
your children also know what they need to do to succeed.
outside the classroom:
If a child says that he or she is having trouble making friends, check out
community- or faith-based activities that may help your youngster meet peers in
a structured setting.
realistic about the morning routine: Know how long it will take to get everyone
up and going in the morning, and then add a few minutes for the inevitable
misplaced shoes, missing homework, etc.
ahead for the evenings: In many homes, the early evening is the time when
everyone’s needs tend to collide: parents need a few minutes of down time,
children need attention immediately and everyone wants dinner. It’s beneficial
to talk things over so everyone’s needs are considered.
“To be honest, these stressors don’t stop after
the first few days of school,” Marshall said. “So these tips can help
throughout the school year and beyond.”