How to Handle the Big Back to School Stresses

How to Handle the Big Back to School Stresses

posted in: Parents, Volunteers | 0

Ah, summer.

Ice cream for breakfast, lazy afternoons, swimming holes, no homework, traveling to the beach. It is THE life.

So, HOW DID WE END UP HERE? Even though summer might’ve felt like two weeks instead of two months, ready or not, it’s back to school time.

Whether you’ve already braved the school supply aisles, or you thrive on the adventure of going on the first day of school – it’s time to get prepared for the days ahead.

ROUTINE

Camp14_Colorado_0205_01040Morning routines have been nonexistent for the last several months so this (first?) week is crucial.

For littles

Start by having the kiddos hit the bed 30 minutes earlier than they have been. Then then can try waking up 30 minutes earlier than they have been on AST. (All Summer Time) Hey, you could always throw in a crowded bathroom, forgotten lunch money, and a sprint to the bus to make it more lifelike? (kidding)

You can also sit down with a calendar and talk through the whole thing, getting their input on the process. If they have a say in the times, there could be more willingness to participate. It’s going to take more time than other options, but it’s never too early to talk about time management. Kids don’t have an alarm clock (besides the mom-shaped one that barrels through the house at 6 a.m.)? It’s TIME to get one.

For bigs

For kids who still aren’t in charge of their own transportation, but have a more flexible bedtime, it’s a similar conversation. Tell them the time you’re walking out the door to head to school, and ask them how much time they need to get ready, and there’s your wake-up time.
Use their phone for an alarm clock? Eh, that could work. Make sure there’s a cutoff time for phone usage in the p.m. or else that wake-up time you just decided on probably ain’t gonna happen. An actual alarm clock never hurts.

SUPPLIES + CLOTHESdesk-and-supplies

For bigs and littles: When you get your kid’s supply list, shop at home first! What’s left over from last year? What can be shared between siblings? What still fits? There’s no sense in buying packs of paper, pencils, and hand sanitizer if there’s still some squirreled away at home!

Make a list together. Maybe there’s room for one item that’s not on the list – like a cool pen or folder– and it’s up to them to decide.

LUNCHES

For littles and bigs

Yosemite15_L2218If your kids take their lunch to school, they get to have a hand in getting it ready! Whether it’s sandwich-making or carrot-stick selecting, there’s an aspect of the lunch-gathering process that kids of all ages can do.

It’s probably not a terrible idea to have them pick a fruit/veggie that’s included every day, making it easier for your shopping list. Wednesdays are for watermelon! You get the picture.

Sure, Pinterest can convince you that you’re failing if you don’t write notes for your kid’s monogrammed lunchbox, but you aren’t. You could actually look up lunchbox ideas on Pinterest for quick and easy things to prepare. Just don’t get sucked in.

STRESS+ANXIETY

There are several surefire BAD ways to cope with anxiety, but approximately one thousand helpful and healthy ways. Everyone is different, and therefore, everyone has different coping mechanisms.

Kids haven;t developed the strong sense of emotional intelligence that you have, so they’re looking to you for how to react. (audible gulp)If you notice a child obviously struggling in an anxious or stressful situation – what in the world do you do?

A popular psychology blog offers some helpful tips to anyone who finds themselves in situations with anxious youth.

Here are some highlights from the full post:

  • Help her feel safe. Let yourself into her world and offer safety and comfort.
  • Validate her response, and don’t rush her to “feel better.”
  • Open the door to a conversation, but don’t try to fix or change anything.

UGH. That’s the hardest one – to not fix her problem with our years of experience, wisdom, and lessons learned. But think back – where did all that knowledge come from? (rhetorical question)

Sure, her way of processing stress might be way less organized and more painful than your way – but she has to experience it on her own.

Like any uncharted territory, this will likely be uncomfortable for you both at first, but these life experiences give a girl the opportunity to learn skills she will undoubtedly use far into adulthood.

CONFIDENCE+RELATIONSHIPSBlueBay13_PB29_0740

Going back to school is always kind of emotional, and sometimes too much NEW at once can take its toll on her confidence. Here are some ideas from the Girl Scout Blog on how to help her shine her brightest!

  • Let her know it’s ok to put her hand up. Encourage her to speak up when she needs something, and when she has something to say.
  • Model good communication skills. Good communication skills and the ability to find common ground with others will help her both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Show her that doing good is fun. There’s value in helping others. You’ll both get a sense of satisfaction, and she’ll feel pride in your accomplishments.
  • Encourage her to step outside her comfort zone. It’s never too early to share examples of girls and women who aim high or have entered careers where women aren’t as common.
  • Back her up. When she puts her hand up, asserts herself, or takes the lead, let her know you’re proud of her and will support her.

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