Tips to Avoid Stress This Back-to-School Season


The back-to-school season can be a stressful time for both parents and children. New routines, homework and social pressures can all lead to added stress. However, with a few simple tips, you can help your family avoid any added headaches this school year.

According to the American Institute of Stress, people have very different ideas about their definition of stress. Probably the most common is physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. Another popular definition of stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

Here are our top tips for a less stressful back-to-school season:

Know the rules.
Familiarize yourself with the school’s policies and procedures. What happens if they are tardy? Which entrance is the correct one to use? What is the dress code? And, what is the cell phone policy? Knowing these things will help you understand what is expected of both you and your child and avoid any surprises down the road.

Create a routine.
One of the best ways to avoid stress is to create a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible. This will help your child know what to expect each day and make things run more smoothly. Keeping your mornings calm and enthusiastic is a great way to start the day. Try to include some downtime each day for homework, relaxation and play. It can also be beneficial to practice this routine before school is back in session. Practicing an earlier bedtime and other time-centric activities will pay dividends once school starts.

Get organized.
One of the best ways to avoid stress is to be as organized as possible. This means having a place for everything and ensuring everything ends up back in its place. Create a system that works for your family, whether it’s color-coding folders or setting out clothes the night before. Help your child understand being prepared can help. Take some time before the school year starts to go through any old work from last year and sort it into piles to keep and throw away. This can help get them mentally prepared for the new load of work coming their way with the new school year.

Plan a shopping trip.
Finding everything on your child’s list while also staying within budget can be a daunting task. To avoid any added stress, try to plan a day or afternoon where you can focus solely on back-to-school shopping. Get the family together and create a list of everything needed, making sure you take advantage of the handy classroom supply list most schools provide these days. Letting your child help choose their new folders, notebooks and backpack for the upcoming year can actually get them a little excited for school.

Lighten the load.
There are several great extracurricular programs available, but it's just as crucial for children to unwind and enjoy some unstructured time at home or outdoors. Make one weekday a "free day" after school and try to stick to that routine for the rest of the school year. When you allow your child to have adequate relaxation, they should feel more prepared and relaxed for the remainder of their week. Keeping a free day also benefits the parents, as it is one less thing on your weekly list of activities.

Plan a weekend away.
This may not be possible for everyone, but, if you can manage it, getting away for even a night or two can help alleviate some stress. Whether it’s going hiking or taking a trip to the beach, giving your child one more weekend of summer fun can be a big help. It allows parents to destress while showing kids summer fun can still happen on weekends.

Be positive.
It’s important to remember that going back to school is a new adventure for your child, and it should be approached as such. Be positive about the upcoming year and try to encourage them to do the same. This will help your child feel more comfortable and excited about the new school year.

With a little preparation and forethought, the back-to-school season doesn’t have to be a stressful time for you or your family. By following these simple tips, you can help make this transition a smooth one.