Suddenly the summer is over and September hits. If you’re like many parents, your to-do list probably seems endless. The back-to-school season can certainly bring about feelings of angst for families, as homework, tests and extracurricular activities get back into full gear. As your family makes the transition from summer to fall, here are some tips for managing back-to-school stress and getting your teens on track for a successful year ahead:
Establish a routine – and stick to it. Many parents have the best of intentions when it comes to getting their teens into a routine; however, many fail to tick with it. Having a consistent bed time in which your children shut off the lights (and their phones!) is crucial for helping them perform their best at school. It’s also beneficial to have dinner as a family at least a couple nights per week. While your teens may have varying after-school schedules, try to pick one or two nights in which everybody can regroup as a family. Putting simple routines like this into place can give your teens the structure they need to stay focused and grounded.
Implement a master calendar. With your teens involved in so many different activities, it can be difficult to keep track of multiple schedules. That’s why it’s so important to create a master calendar in which your teens write in their extracurricular activities for the month. Having all your family’s commitments written down in one place will alleviate the stress that often ensues from not knowing everybody’s schedules. By implementing this time management technique, you’ll find it easier to organize transportation accordingly; make dinner plans; and schedule other arrangements.
Promote healthy habits. With the first couple weeks of school often being overwhelming, your teens may be tempted to reach for junk food, oversleep or spend too much time in front of a screen. Promoting healthy habits at home, including eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise, will reduce your teens’ school-related stress and foster resilience as the pressures of school kick in. It will also help your teens better acclimate to their new schedules, as they’ll feel more energized and motivated to excel during the school day.
While the back-to-school season can certainly be stressful, being proactive with the tips above will allow your teens to start the new school year on the right foot. Remember, a little planning can go a long way!