Start The School Year Stress-Free
Back-to-school spending is expected to hit an all-time high this year. The National Retail Federation’s annual survey states total back-to-school spending is projected to reach $83.6 billion, a more than 10 percent increase from last year’s $75.8 billion. For many parents and children, it is an overwhelming season of confusion and anxiety. American families are truly overwhelmed with concerns about money and time. Here are eight simple tips to kick off the school year and start school stress free this year.
8 Simple tips to avoid chaos and start school stress free
Develop a plan…and stick to it!
Create a plan and establish rituals in advance. Remember to establish bedtime/curfews, homework hour (no distractions), dinnertime (everyone eats together whenever possible), and, make sure to put up a calendar of everyone’s after-school activities to avoid scheduling conflicts. Kids need (and want) structure–a plan reduces confusion and stress by keeping everyone on the same page.
Save, save, save
Hit sales to cut down on expenses–both online and in-store. Stores usually prepare for sales on Thursday evenings, so get there early on Fridays for the best savings. And, if your state offers tax-free shopping days, take advantage of them!
Create a concern box
Have family members write down their concerns, put them in the box, and at the weekly family meeting, discuss the issues–this is a way for everyone to share their feelings in a supportive and non-intimidating fashion. With so much happening in the first few weeks of school – new friends, bullies, new teachers, new classes, peer pressure, fear, and instability – communication is paramount within the entire family.
Stop the morning madness. Pre-pack lunches, lay out clothes, get backpacks ready, and shower in the evenings to cut down on morning stress.
Activity time each night
Each evening, go for a family walk for 20 minutes, play catch, or shoot hoops. Healthy, active parents create healthy, active children.
Encourage quiet-reflective time for your family
This practice plants the seeds of peace, wisdom, and reflection in your children. Have them spend 10 minutes each evening in quiet reflection. This is also their time to read, explore individual creativity, prayer, and meditation.
Parents practice self-care
Practicing self-care teaches your children the vital importance of caring for their own mind, body, and soul. Make a date with yourself; get a massage, meet a friend, attend an art exhibit, and nourish yourself! Your children’s days are filled, shouldn’t your days be filled too?
Laughter is an immediate stress reducer and teaches children to not take themselves and life too seriously. See comedy movies regularly.
“Stress is a natural element of life. Educate your children about the symptoms of stress and that stress can lead to sickness, depression or anger,” states Dr. Hall. “Teach your children to become stress resilient. Parents can ease the tensions of stress by altering the family lifestyle and creating a peaceful home environment.”