Parenting: Back to school challenges

September 20, 2012

I know I'm not the only parent facing challenges.

First, there's the change in routine. The relaxing, sleep-in-late days of summer are over. I started rolling back the boys' bedtimes the week before school, so they could get used to going to bed and waking up earlier.

It's still hard. Billy doesn't get home from football until after seven and has to eat and shower before he can begin to attack homework from his three Honors and two AP courses. Micah is now waking up a full hour earlier for middle school than he did last year for elementary school.

They're tired. I'm hoping they can catch up on sleep a bit over the weekend, but Billy has a morning football practice Saturday, and both boys have to be at Sunday School by 9:00. Can you say "sleep deprivation?"

Then there's all that homework for parents! I spent several hours going through the high-school and middle-school calendars, entering all the early dismissals, performances, conferences, etc. into my calendar.

Then - despite all my school supply stockpiling - there were runs to Staples and CVS to get items that weren't on the first supply lists that were sent home. The binder had to be at least two inches. The folders had to have three holes. They need four packs, not one, of 3 x5 cards.

How about filling out all those fun forms for emergency contacts, home and school volunteers, approval of the homework and computer policies? Not to mention working out carpools!

The bottom line is that for both parents and students, these next few weeks are bound to be stressful, at least until the newness of the school year becomes routine. Experience has taught me that we will get used to it all.

The key is to take a deep breath, especially if your child suddenly seems stressed or cranky, and know that it's probably their own way of dealing with all these challenges. Try to make sure as a parent that you aren't letting the stress get to you. Your kids will pick up on that, and it will only make things worse.

Here are some articles with tips and resources for dealing with back-to-school stress:

  • Family Education
  • Scholastic
  • Stress Management for Women

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