How to Beat the Back-to-School Stress

How to Beat the Back-to-School Stress

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It’s school opening again this coming June 13, and managing your work or office time and your children’s school routine becomes especially challenging during the first month after the opening. Getting your kids back to their school routine after more or less three months of summer vacation often requires extra effort. Roughly half of working parents admit that stress related to the first month of school opening is so bad that the transition often interferes with their work.

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Of course, thanks to the government’s K-12 program (cue sarcastic pun music), there won’t be any more summer vacations for the kids in the next year, so instead of a transitional stress from vacation, parents can now experience non-stop stress all year-round. Also, it’s more than likely that the kids didn’t go through summer vacation but instead had to attend “bridging classes” to jump up two grades in order to adjust to the K-12 program, thus, adding more stress and trauma to their school experience.

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Since we can’t do much about our inept government’s program, what we can do is at least give some tips and advice on how parents can be better prepared and have less stress so they’re not arriving late for work or going under-time in the afternoon just because of school opening.

Remind the kids to be responsible again

Remind your kids that since its school time again they need to do those responsible things they used to do before school was out. They need to sleep during their pre-set bed time, and not be cajoled to do so. When the alarm clock chimes in the morning, they need to get up without mother nudging them to get up. They need to take a bath and get dressed with as little supervision as possible. This puts less stress on the parents and they can concentrate on preparing for work themselves, preparing breakfast, and preparing the kid’s bags for school. Remember that when the kids have enough sleep they are well-rested for the next day.

Split responsibilities with your partner

The best advice for couples for less stress is to figure out which tasks play to the strengths of a specific parent, and delegate responsibilities accordingly. In most cases, mothers are good at preparing breakfast while dads are good at laundry duties or prepping up the kids for school. If some tasks can be tackled the night before, this is a good way to soften up stressful mornings.

If back-up is handy, make the back-up useful

In some Filipino homes one or both couples’ parents may be present. It pays to have grandma or grandpa lend a helping hand especially during the very busy work days. And it doesn’t hurt to expose the kids to seeing more than the parents sharing the responsibilities, and can motivate the kids to stick to their own responsibilities.

Talk gently about homework together

Parents should discuss homework with their kids together as gently as possible at the kitchen table or before they sit down to work. Discuss about what is due tomorrow or next week and help them to plan out how to get the work done. Never, ever, focus on grades, but rather focus on completion and understanding the concepts behind the homework. Efficient management of workload is one of the better qualities parents can teach their kids at a young age.

Establish a routine

Whether parents like it or not, a routine must be established in the morning for everyone. The routine builds up the discipline and sticking to the responsibilities. It may mean setting the breakfast routine in the morning, getting up earlier to cook breakfast earlier, and planning everything the night before. Be an example by looking calm and enthusiastic for the coming day rather than being grumpy and short-tempered.

Be sure you know the school rules

Aside from your own stress, understand too the stress your child might go through in school if they don’t follow the rules. What’s the punishment if they’re late for school (and more than likely this is the parent’s fault)? Are electronic gadgets allowed? What is the school’s dress code, or the correct way to wear the uniform? Be attentive during teacher-parent meetings and get an understanding grip on the school culture and what’s expected of your child. The best thing for this is to tour your child’s school you can find out where the canteen, classrooms, bathrooms, faculty rooms, and other offices are located. Gawk around at the canteen food and see what they serve. This can become your basis on what to prepare for your child’s snack and lunch.

Make it personal

Less stress means knowing who is handling your kids during the daytime. Find time to meet and greet all your kid’s teachers, the vice-principal or the principal, the guidance counselor, and the prefect of discipline, if there is one. If time allows, it would be good to meet your kid’s classmates and the other parents.

Un-Schedule during the weekends

Give time for your kids, and for you, to relax during the weekends. Don’t talk or discuss anything about school and make sure to keep either a Saturday or Sunday as a “free day.” Start discussing about school starting Sunday late afternoon or evening to prepare for the next day. If there is important homework or things to buy for Monday, discuss this in advance on Friday night.

Check out the supplies beforehand

Assuming that you’ve already done your school supplies shopping early, go through every piece and supply you bought and make sure everything is complete. Should something be lacking or you may have forgotten something, go out NOW and buy it, and don’t wait for the weekend when every parent is squeezing into the crowds in the stores buying at the last minute in typical ala Filipino last minute style.

Make the first day count with something from home

Surprise your child by placing a family photo or a special note inside your child’s backpack, school bag, or lunch box. This will remind your child of your special bond as a family.



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