Back-to-school brings a mix of excitement and nervousness for both parents and children.
Adapting to so many changes at once can be mentally and physically exhausting. Keep in mind that it’s likely to take a few weeks before your household routine is in full swing and your children feel settled in.
Here we share some advice on how to handle the back-to-school overwhelm:
Open Communication & Support
Let's Talk it Out. Sit down with your child and have a heart-to-heart about how they're feeling. Share your own thoughts too, so they know they're not alone. Creating a comfortable space for conversations can help both of you feel more at ease.
Look for the following that may be indications of emotional distress:
Regressing in age-appropriate activities
Refusing to leave the house
Address any worries they might have and reassure them that you're there to support them. If your child's anxiety persists, don't hesitate to seek guidance from mental health professionals. If available, school counselors, therapists, and psychologists can provide specialized assistance tailored to your child's needs.
Connect with Other Parents. Reach out to fellow parents, whether through school groups, online forums, or local networks. Sharing experiences and advice can help you feel less isolated and more in the know.
Get Familiar with Your Assistance Program. This is a free and confidential benefit that provides easy access to mental health counseling, resources, and other support services to help you manage life’s everyday challenges and reach personal and academic goals.
Plan & Prepare
Develop Routines. If possible, start getting into the swing of things before school starts. Adjust bedtimes and mealtimes gradually so it's not a total shock when the big day arrives. Morning and nightly routines are especially important for getting your days off to a smooth start and ensuring a good night’s sleep. Incorporating healthy eating and regular exercise into your lifestyle are equally important.
Calendar Management. Use digital calendars or planners to keep track of important school events, extracurricular activities, parent-teacher meetings, and other commitments. This will help you plan your time effectively.
Delegate Responsibilities. If possible, delegate some tasks to other family members, such as your partner or older children. Sharing responsibilities can alleviate the burden and create a sense of teamwork.
Self-Care & Stress Management
Take Care of You. Parents, make sure to prioritize your own well-being. Engage in activities that relax and rejuvenate you, whether it's hobbies, exercise, reading, spending time with friends, or practicing mindfulness.
Practice Stress-Relief Techniques. Incorporate stress-relief techniques into your routine, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation. These practices can help you manage stress and stay centered.
Seek Support. If you're feeling overwhelmed, seek support from friends, family, or professionals. Sometimes talking to someone about your feelings can provide valuable perspective and alleviate anxiety.
Show your child some simple relaxation tricks. Breathing exercises, imagining calm places, and even some light stretching can help them manage stress, whether they're in the classroom or at home. Consider relaxation like kid-friendly yoga (try the Super Stretch app or Cosmic Kids YouTube Channel) or practice mindful meditation (try the Smiling Mind app).
Back-to-school stress is a common experience for parents and children, and it's okay to feel this way. By applying these tips, you can create a smoother transition and reduce the overwhelm associated with the start of the school year.
Reach Out for Support
Perspectives Employee, Student, or Member Assistance Program: If your organization has the Perspectives Assistance Program (EAP, MAP, or SAP), reach out for confidential support and resources. Call or Text 24/7: 800.456.6327
Perspectives Counseling and Psychotherapy Centers: We offer Telehealth or in-person counseling. Call: 866.296.5262
Note: While this article provides guidance, it is not a substitute for professional therapy. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to Perspectives or a qualified mental health professional for support.