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Parental Stress

Parental Stress

Children returning to school can be such an exciting, busy time. For some parents, it is relieving to get back into a pattern. For others, it can be an overwhelming and stressful time. Parental stress can be triggered by monetary spending on school supplies and registration, balancing extra curricular activities, and worrying that children will adjust to the learning environment well and get along with others. The list could go on forever, right?

So, how do we make our return to school a success for our family? Well, here are a few suggestions:

  • Incorporate downtime-Everybody needs to be able to adjust to the new schedule. Sometimes you just need a few minutes to decompress from the workday, just like children do from school or practice. Before starting dinner, take a minute and go for a walk or write in your journal. Then you can rejoin the family ready to listen to conversations, handle transportation, or make dinner.  
  • Include family time- It is important to socialize as a family. Whether it is eating together as a family or just sitting at the table reviewing the calendar, family conversations are important. 
  • Make self-care part of your routine- This can be tricky. Make sure you are talking about what you are experiencing with a friend or partner. Don’t forget to talk to your supervisor and coworkers to make a plan for hectic days and unforeseen circumstances. Make sure you talk to your child about expectations.

It is important as parents that we are not constantly comparing ourselves to someone else or comparing our child to another. Don’t provoke unnecessary stress. Celebrate the success you have and report to your children. It might be something as simple as everyone waking up on time, getting to the bus stop on time and arriving at work on time and ready for all responsibilities. Worrying about what is to come will only cause more anxiety. Ask yourself what you can be proactive about and change the things you can only change. For instance, if everyone is always late for school, identify a time that is going to help with the issue or help everyone figure out how they can be better prepared to get up in the mornings. A routine can only help everyone in the family. 

Make sure you give yourself a break. It is natural to have a little stress but keep your stress in perspective. Just like the old saying: “There’s no use in crying over spilled milk”. Make sure your perspective is on target.