For many parents, who are tightening their wallets and spending less, back-to-school chaos is also a time of overwhelming confusion, depression and anxiety. American families are truly overwhelmed with concerns about money, time, and the wellbeing of their kids.
Here are simple tips to avoid back to school chaos as you kick off the school year:
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.
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 some nutrition! Your children’s days are filled, shouldn’t yours be?
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,” says Dr. Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of The Stress Institute and Mindful Living Network. “Parents can ease the tensions of stress by altering the family lifestyle and creating a peaceful home environment.