Back to School Anxiety – How to Cope for Parents

Just as kids have their typical anxious worries, so do parents. If your child is going to school for the first time you wonder if they’ll be okay without you. Will the teacher be kind or strict? Will your child make friends? Will they be scared? 

And once they go to school, you’ll engage in whatever routine you have. Going to work, engaging in your own hobbies, taking care of the house, and attending to other things. 

But this year, it’s 100% different. In my last post, I spoke about some of the homeschooling/virtual learning/social distancing at school plans. Some kids are back full time, some are alternating or rotating days. Whatever the plan is, there are also new rules. You may have more than one child and have to figure out the schedules of multiple schools. You can’t necessarily plan for a scheduled two days to be home that change every week, so now child care is an issue. The result for parents:

STRESS!!!!!

So whatever your childs’ “back to school” plan is, here are a few tips to take care of YOU and support your child. 

5 Tips for Parents when your child “goes back” to school:

  1. Take care of yourself: I’m sure you’ve heard things like you can’t pour from an empty cup. Your kids come first, but don’t forget to do some intentional care for yourself. There is probably a lot to balance, but it’s so important to do the tiniest things that make you feel relaxed and happy. Light a candle when you go to shower, buy yourself a new book, go to sleep, and take a break from your phone. Anything that can give you the slightest boost in your mood. Because when you feel better, you’re able to better support your kids.  
  2. Be aware of your tone: Your words matter, but your tone matters more. When we are stressed and overtired, we tend to be shorter and clipped with our words. When others hear us, they hear annoyance and more often than not, they become defensive or cranky themselves and give it right back. Eliminate the bickering and fights by noticing your own tone of voice and how you feel. Takes a tad more effort on your part, but a few minutes resetting vs. 30 minutes arguing is a win in my book.
  3. Write it down: With changing days, times, and schedules, you’ll need a way to keep it straight. Whatever method you choose, make sure you have access to it all the time. Staying organized will help you feel more in control of a very out of your control situation. This helps put things swirling in your head down on paper which is a relief for stress. 
  4. Talk to someone: Remember that there are so many other parents going through the same if not very similar situation. In a time when we feel really alone, make sure to reach out, connect, and get validation that if you’re overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, and exhausted, you’re not the only one. If you really feel your mood taking a turn for the worst, please don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help. There’s no shame in asking for help. (Number on the main page)
  5. Be gentle with yourself: It’s okay to cope in not the “healthiest” of ways. Having an extra glass of wine, not getting all the household chores done and being as “organized” as you can, eating your comfort foods, or zoning during a scroll through facebook. Don’t beat yourself for forgetting things, not being “on top of it” or crying it out in the shower. Just be mindful to take care of yourself in all the good ways too. 

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