Back to school is approaching and carries with it more stress and possibly less sleep. According to a survey by OnePoll reported by the New York Post, 60% of parents surveyed reported losing sleep over going back to school!
In addition to extra expenses for clothes and supplies that can stretch your pocketbook, there are other back to school stressors of new morning and evening routines, figuring out transportation to and from school, school lunches, and school related anxieties like child safety, behavior, teachers, homework, and more.
Here are some tips for helping you handle the inevitable stress of back to school season:
- Have a plan. Figure out your morning and evening routines for early fall now vs. later. Know what time everyone has to wake up, when you have to be out the door each day, the after school care or activities the kids will be involved with and your own work schedule (if possible). Map it out on a family calendar. This also helps ensure you aren’t overcommitted. Having a plan and trying to stay organized helps reduce anxiety.
- Shop clearance and dollar stores. Supplies can be costly, but these are often very basic supplies that can be found at clearance and dollar stores for much less cost. Some charitable organizations also run drives for back to school supplies. Find out how you might take advantage of these opportunities. Also, if you can’t buy everything on the list at once, choose the most important items (like writing utensils and notebooks) and buy others later. In addition, choose cheaper options (regular pencils vs. mechanicals) for supplies.
- Be reasonable about new clothes and shoes. Do the kids really need new ones this year? Have they outgrown their current ones? If not, you don’t need to stress yourself out by buying more for them. If they have needs, however, use thrift stores or charitable clothing shops in your local community which often contain an abundance of cheap or no cost clothing. This can help save you money to spend on other necessities.
- Stay in the present and take it one day at a time. Worrying about what will happen at school with your kids doesn’t do the body or mind much good when it comes to stress. Instead, stay in the present and take it one day at a time. Yes, difficulties are bound to happen, but handle each situation as it comes with the strength of today and think positive.
- When you feel overwhelmed by it all, pause. What is most important is that you catch your breath and stay relaxed. As a parent of your family, you’re the anchor of the ship. Anchors need to stay anchored, so do something for yourself that nourishes your body and gives it a pause – perhaps a meditation, some deep breaths, a yoga or fitness class, or an activity you enjoy. These are all helpful ways to combat feelings of overwhelm and stay grounded.
Remember, each year back to school unfolds and we get in a new rhythm. We’ll get through this, and maybe lose less sleep from stress this year, by using these tips!
By: Katie Talarico