5 Tips to Manage Back-to-School Stress for Parents with Older Kids

Yes, the time back to school isn’t easy for kids. But it isn’t just hard for them. It’s equally difficult for the parents. There are so many things that we worry about. How can we make sure that our kids are happy, well-adjusted and able to learn as much as they can? How can we guarantee that they pay attention, get good grades and go to school happy and free?

Many parents spend nights awake worrying about exactly these points (and more). It eats into their night rest and hampers their good mood. These parents are looking for good ways to control the stress. Fortunately, there are quite a few good techniques that you can use to make yourself feel better.

Here are some of the best ways.

Don’t do it alone

You know that saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’? Well, they don’t just help raise the child, they’re also there to help the parents destress. For that reason, don’t try to do it alone. Share responsibilities for the kids after school with other parents. Talk to the teachers so that you have open and easy channels of communication that can be used when there are problems. Get the rest of the family involved.

The more people that are a part of their lives, the easier your kids will find it to cope with the problems of life, because if one person isn’t there to give them the advice they need or to deal with their tantrums, then there’s another person that they can turn to. And that means there is a safety net in place that you can rely on when life and work become too much for you.

So, when you’ve got a bit of time left over, build that network. In that way, it will be there for you to call upon when you need it. And that will make it far easier for you to sleep at night.

If you’re kind to yourself it is easier to be kind to your kids  

Yes, we all have this idea that we need to be perfect parents. The thing is, perfection does not exist. We all go through life trying to do the best we can. That’s it. There is nothing more nor less. So yes, you’re going to screw up occasionally, but don’t dwell on it.

Chances are, that most of these mistakes will barely even be noticed by your children – at least if you’re able to let them go and get on with your life. In that case, if you can be a happy and free, so will they.

A positive mental state is often far more beneficial for everybody involved than striving for perfection.

Have a meal together

Often, the only way that you can find out about problems is if you spend time with your kids so that they can express themselves. You see, children often need a bit more time to get to the root of their problems. That isn’t too surprising, as they don’t yet have all that experience at understanding themselves.

So spend time with them. Watch them. Talk to them. It doesn’t have to be about problems or what’s going wrong. Sometimes just talking about everyday life can be enough to clue into something that might not be going well or – conversely – that everything is going honky dory.

Possibly more importantly, spending time with people that we love is a fantastic way for us to.... So yeah, you’re having your cake and eating it too if you can make time for your family.

Give yourself time off

Yes, we all try to live vicariously. That does not mean, however, that we can’t have our own lives as well. So, make sure that you spend time doing the things you love and make sure that you don’t feel guilty for doing them when you do.

(If that means that you need to get a little bit of help around the house, or that you sometimes need to get the kids a babysitter, that’s okay. Nobody can expect you to be on call 24 hours a day. There are tons of services out there that can make your life easier, like Hello Alfred, which can help you with chores, or Lord of Papers which can help you with school work.

And make sure that you spend that extra time on yourself. Yes, it can be tempting to go run an extra errand or do an extra task, but how much use are you going to be to your kids when you’re having a mental breakdown?

Unplug

Laptops, tablets and smartphones can seem like the perfect way to destress. They’re not. Often they’re just within reach. If you’d only make a little bit more effort, however, you’d find a whole host of other activities that are far more rewarding and far better at tackling stress.

So, set yourself and your family unplug times. Agree that at certain times of the day or week, you spend time without screens glaring at you. This can be immensely beneficial to both your children and yourself.

It can even be helpful towards your relationship, as you remember what it means to look each other in the eye, instead of looking at each other in the blue glow of computer screens.

Last words

Above all, relax. I know it’s hard, but a lot of problems will take care of themselves and your kids are their own people. That means you can guide them, but you can never live their lives for them. That’s something that they’d going to have to do for themselves.

The more you trust them to get on with it and make the right choices, the more likely that’s what they’re going to do.

So be there to correct the course and to put your hand on the tiller when you’re heading out to the open sea, but be willing to stand back and let them solve their own problems. This will both make them stronger and give you the time you need to tackle the stresses that life throws your way. 

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