Tips for Parents Dealing with Back to School Blues
Whether you’re sending your little one away for the first time or your adult child is heading to college for their last year, parents everywhere may experience a range of emotions when their child goes to school. It’s completely normal to feel a little sad; after all, school means your baby is growing up! You may feel the opposite – complete relief! – as you finally get a break after dealing with, er, we mean, having the pleasure of being with your child all summer. Fear, happiness, rest, joy, tearful – you’re likely to experience them all.
Some parents, however, may feel more anxiety than anything else. In fact, one study estimates that mothers are far more stressed out about kids than going back to school – 63% of moms had the hardest time with back to school time, compared to only 23% of kids! Some of the top causes for back to school stress include getting kids awake on time (with over 70% of moms reporting that being the hardest task), spending money on school supplies, and juggling school, homework, and after school activities.
Struggling with sending the kids back to school? Check out three tips below that may ease the pain for both you and your children!
Pretend School Starts a Week Earlier
Chances are, your child hates waking up early as much as you hate getting them up! Expecting your child to go from sleeping in to waking up hours earlier on the first day of school is a near impossible task. Instead, pretend school starts a week earlier. One week prior to the first day, start easing their wake up time closer to your goal. Start with half an hour earlier, then an hour, and so on, so by the time the kids actually have to get up and go, they’re used to waking up a little earlier than normal.
Take it Easy on Extracurriculars
Extracurriculars can have some great advantages; they’ll keep your kids busy while you’re still at work, they increase your child’s creativity and problem-solving skills, and they’re a way to form social connections. However, juggling too many after school activities is a sure-fire way to stress out not only your child, but yourself. 60% of parents report after school activities cause more stress than they take away! Give yourself and your child some time to rest in both of your schedules – don’t sign up for more extracurricular than either of you can handle.
Be Present and Ready to Listen
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we so often get tied up in our daily routines that we fail to be present with our children and really listen to them. Spending time with your child and asking them about their day is valuable for so many reasons, one of which is to catch any signs of anxiety your child may be displaying. Children acting more clingy than normal, having trouble sleeping, changing their eating habits, or becoming upset easily are just a few signs that school may have them feeling anxious. It’s important to express positivity, help them reframe negative thoughts, provide support, and take them to a professional if needed.
If you or your child are experiencing stress or anxiety about going back to school, you’re not alone! At Straight Up Treatment, we have counselors ready to listen to both children and adults regarding their back to school blues. We specialize in treating anxiety and work with kids, teens, and adults. If you or your child need support in the transition to school, reach out today using our online contact form. We’d be happy to talk to you, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!