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 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.
Simple Tips to Avoid Chaos and Open Lines of Communication
- Develop a plan…and stick to it! Create a plan and establish rituals in advance: 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 (and keep it current) 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. Family member write down their concerns, put them in the box, and at the weekly family meeting, they are discussed– it 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.
- Morning chaos. 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 night 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 of quiet time each evening. 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, get nourished! Your children’s days are filled, shouldn’t yours be
- Laughing matters. Laughter is an immediate stress reducer and teaches children to not take themselves and life too seriously. See comedy movies regularly.
- Fear of school shootings. Assure your child that studies tell us their school is the safest places for them to be. Their teachers, principals, and school officers are trained to keep them safe.
- Have a stress talk. 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. Tell your child they can tell you anything with no judgment about themselves or their friends.