November 29, 2021 by John Fernandez
Stress Busters for School Season
Just like a jumbo box of crayons, back-to-school anxiety can outline your life with a jumble of shades and colors. That’s because back-to-school season carries a heavy backpack filled with school shopping lists, altered bedtime routines, new classrooms or schools, and other demands on your time and resources.
“Whether your child is just starting school or going away to college, you as a parent will be facing many challenges in your own life,” says Janet Irgang, regional director of LifeWorks, a work-life balance program for employees at Baptist Health. “Each age group has its own special challenges. Your most important assignments are to communicate with your children and to take care of yourself.”
Here are tips Ms. Irgang suggests to keep you sharp and relaxed during back-to-school season:
Create a paper trail: Your easiest path to school travels through calendars, forms and other documents. If you get a jump on the paper trail, you’re less likely to get stampeded by school meetings and events. “Make a note of important dates, especially back-to-school night. This is especially important if you have children in more than one school and need to juggle obligations,” according to a report from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
And don’t forget to study bus schedules, school supply lists, deadlines for after school activities and other school business.
Build home structures: Car keys, backpacks, lunch boxes and homework share one major demand: the need for efficient space. Designate quiet areas for homework, practical locations for storing lunch boxes, backpacks and briefcases, and find a memorable location for stashing your car and house keys. What’s more, create a system for sharing and posting important school notices and flyers.
Check your calendar: Reduce stress by scaling back your professional and personal commitments, including business trips and volunteer activities, during the first weeks of school. Freeing up time will create more flexibility for you and your children to adjust to the demands of the new school term.
Re-adjust bedtime routines: After a summer of elastic bedtime routines, returning to the pace of early morning school-day drills can be a rude awakening for the entire family. Recreate and reinforce bedtime routines that will enable every family member to get enough sleep. Remember: Sleep deprivation is linked to a long list of behavioral, mood and physical disorders in children and adults. Sleep experts recommend reintroducing breakfast and bedtime routines at least one week before the first day of school.
Guard your health: School preparations typically include physical exams for students. Medical professionals, including mental health experts, urge parents to do the same. Don’t miss the bus when it comes to wellness and prevention activities for your own health. South Miami Hospital’s Center for Women & Infants, for example, offers Patient Care Navigators to keep your own health in check. The navigators will:
- Locate the right physician to fit your needs.
- Set up and keep track of your doctor and diagnostic appointments.
- Find answers to your questions.
- Direct you to treatment services, local resources and support groups.
- Suggest questions you should ask your doctor at your next visit.
- Act as your medical mentor, coach, advocate and companion to share the progress and setbacks of your journey.
Assess your needs now while there’s still a bit of time left to get on track so you’re sure to help your kids enjoy the new school year!