Back to School – The Parent

Buying supplies, clothes shopping, meeting the teacher, setting up carpools and finding after school care are just some of the things parents have to do before school starts. The back to school season can raise parents’ stress levels for many reasons.     

Parents have the emotional stress of sending their children off to school and thus “into the world”, the physical stress of everything school involves—packing lunches, chauffeuring, helping with homework, etc.—the financial stress of purchasing new clothes and supplies, and countless other stresses.  Working and single parents have unique stresses, as well. Not to mention parents who homeschool.

Whatever your family structure or situation in life, getting kids ready to enter or return to school is a busy time. When people get busy or feel stretched too thin in any area—financially, emotionally, physically—they often feel stressed.  Here are some things you can do to help curb stress in your life as you help your children prepare for the new school year:

1)      Budget. It may be too late to do so this year, but try to set aside a little money every month for clothes and school supplies. Keep the money labeled as such in an envelope. If saving a year out seems like overkill, try to start saving every year when summer begins. This way you have extra cash for all of things your kids will need when the new school year begins.

2)     Think ahead. For example, spend some time on Sundays cutting up fruit and veggies so that you can toss them into lunches during the week. Or make PB and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread, five at a time, freeze them and use them throughout the week. Also, if your children are young, buy a hanging clothes organizer and pick out their clothes for a week at a time so that all they have to do is grab their clothes each morning.

3)     Work together. Try to find or set up a carpool. If you are married, see if you and your husband can share responsibilities such as chauffeuring, helping with homework, making lunches, etc. If you are single, ask a neighbor, friend or family member for help. If you homeschool, look for a community of home school moms you can connect with.

4)     Promote independence. Anything your children can do let them do. For example, let them make their own breakfast (and lunch if older), make their bed, pack their back pack each night and set it by the door, etc. This will take some of the load off of you while teaching your children independence. After all, they won’t live with you forever.

5)     Make time for yourself. Even if it is just going to Starbucks twice a month for one hour, do something by yourself regularly. Take time to do something you love and enjoy your own company. It is amazing how much this simple act will reduce your anxiety level.

If you are feeling stressed or anxious about the upcoming school year or would like to speak to a licensed mental health counselor for any other reason, please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services of Orlando today at (407) 443-8862 to make an appointment. 


Yolanda Brailey