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education: school

Back to Stress? How to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed During the School Year (for Both You and Your Child!) by Chris Brown, MA, LMFT, CCLS


ow that summer is almost over, it’s time to turn our focus to school supplies, clothes shopping, and starting to gear up for the new school year. The emails and phone calls for our kids to join sports, music, and after-school programs start to flood our inboxes. It won’t be long until the homework starts to pour in and practice schedules need to be balanced with work demands. As the to-do list grows longer for both kids and parents, it seems like everyone can feel the stress of fall. So how can we help not only our children, but ourselves, during the academic year? One way to keep stress at bay is by keeping a little bit of summer in your school year schedule. Kids look forward to the summer break. They enjoy the lack of structure that summer provides. Children of all


Family/August 2019

ages enjoy being able to sleep in and spend more time with their friends and family on vacations, sleepovers, and summer outings. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that free time, especially unstructured time, is incredibly healthy for kids and teens. Equally, there is information that also points to the fact that kids, and even more so, parents, are chronically sleep-deprived. Keeping summer habits of rest, fun, and unstructured time can provide much needed relaxation and downtime for kids, as well as parents, when there are so many demands during the school year. Another way to help both you and your child with stress is to involve your son or daughter in making decisions as to what activities they are involved in during the school year. After-school activities teach discipline, follow-through, and

commitment. Oftentimes these activities are chosen by us, the parents, and not the other way around. Deciding together what clubs and sports your children participate in can help them use reasoning and communication skills that will help them when they become adults. Including kids in decision-making can also give you, the parent, a powerful conversation starter to learn if your child is overwhelmed by practice, homework, and school. Allowing our kids to help make the choice also puts ownership on them for taking part in the activity, helps with buy-in, and can motivate your son or daughter to attend practices and rehearsals— instead of resorting to bargaining and fighting over attending. It’s also okay for you, as the parent, to reduce your workload and stress during the school year by putting

Profile for Roanoke Valley Family Magazine

Roanoke Valley Family August 2019  

Volume 7, Issue 12

Roanoke Valley Family August 2019  

Volume 7, Issue 12