Edward Elmhurst Health shared in its blog that if you’re like many parents, the school year can be stressful. Very stressful. And this year, there is added stress as families continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
From making breakfast, packing lunches, and trying to catch the school bus, to making dinner, juggling after-school activities and helping with homework, before you know it the day is done — only to repeat all over again tomorrow.
Even as you’re at your full-time job, your inbox gets flooded with emails about what your child should bring tomorrow, permission slips to be signed and upcoming school events you can’t miss. Your sports/school apps are buzzing with notifications.
Most days, it feels like there’s not enough time to get it all done. Your stress level is through the roof and you could lose it at any moment.
How can you get through the school year and maintain your mental well-being? Try these 10 tips:
- Get organized. Store important school papers in the same place (e.g., a kitchen drawer). Hang reminders on the fridge or add them to your phone’s calendar. Have your child keep their school backpack, music instrument, etc. in one location in your house (e.g., mudroom).
- Encourage good homework habits. Establish a consistent time and a designated homework spot for your child. Provide help, but don’t do the work for them. Be sure to praise them for their efforts. Get 6 tips to help your child develop good homework habits.
- Prepare for the day ahead. Do what you can to make the mornings go smooth. Have your child lay out their clothes the night before. You can also pack school lunches the night before, or get your child to pack their own lunch.
- Keep the teacher in the loop. Keeping the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher will help you stay on top of any issues. If your child seems to be struggling to understand assignments, let the teacher know.
- Talk to your kids. Have daily conversations about how their school day went. Ask about what they learned, who their friends are, etc. Being in the know will help you deal with any issues that arise during the school year before it becomes a bigger problem.
- Have family dinners together. As much as possible, try to eat as a family at the dinner table. Even better, cook together. This is a great opportunity to spend time with each other without distractions.
- Don’t over-schedule your kid. Your child doesn’t need to be signed up for every activity — and why make it harder on the both of you? You can still give them a chance to explore new activities, but try to stick to one extracurricular activity per season.
- Make sleep a priority. A good night’s sleep is essential for a productive school day — and a healthy kid. A bedtime routine will help cut down the number of arguments over going to bed and waking up. Learn how to get your child to bed at a decent hour.
- Encourage healthy habits. Healthy, physically active kids are also more likely to be successful in school. Learn how to get your couch potato kid moving. Set rules on screen time, too. Learn how to keep your child from becoming a media-addicted zombie.
- Make time for yourself. Set regular date nights with your partner. Take a warm bath, get a manicure or massage, take a yoga class or go shopping — whatever recharges you and helps you de-stress.
The school year is a lot of work for both kids and parents. As with anything, balance is key to getting through the school year unscathed. Just remember, parental involvement correlates to children’s success in school, so all of your hard work is worth it.
Learn some tried-and-true practices to help students as they return to school.