Back to School
DE-STrESS YOurSELf aND YOur KIDS
t’s hard to believe the new
school year is almost here. But if you start early
and progress gradually, your kids will feel better
about themselves and your quality of life will
be much-improved. The key is to put the right
strategies in place.
Get organized –
Do this well in advance so there’s no
rushing at the last minute to buy
supplies, books and uniforms or to
fill out paperwork.
Develop a command center –
up in a convenient location. Encourage
the kids to write down on a white
board the things they need at least three
days in advance. Establish an out box
for each child. As they unpack their
book bags, they can put any papers you
need to read or sign in the in box, and,
in the morning, they can take whatever
is in their out box. Post a calendar so
they see what their activities are and
any special items they need for that
day. Children thrive on structure; they
will have the security of knowing where
to look for information, and they will
A safe, stress-free area –
Create a place
where your child knows he or she can
have quiet time. It can be a corner of their room that
you set up with big pillows, a blanket, coloring books,
crayons and music. Make sure it’s an unplug zone, with no
computers or phones.
Set an example –
Your point of view regarding stress
invariably become theirs. Your mood sets the mood of
Talk positively –
Talk with your kids about the upcoming
school year, and ask them which after-school activities
they would like to participate in. Don’t overschedule them.
Acknowledge their nervousness and brainstorm ways to
ease it. Keep the focus on the positive and not about how
the previous year went. Keep communication open by
making yourself available to listen, not necessarily to talk.
If they start to get anxious, redirect their thoughts to the
fun they had over the summer.
School mode –
About two weeks before the first day of
school, talk with your kids and make sure everything is
in place. Let them know that school
mode begins during the last week of
summer vacation. This means going
to bed at the set school time. During
that week, talk with them about
your expectations, explain what the
command center is all about and make
a cheat sheet with their schedule,
locker combination, teachers’ names
and room numbers.
Once school starts, establish a
nighttime routine of packing lunches,
getting school clothes out, setting the
alarm clock and putting the backpack
by the door. In the morning, don’t
throw open the bedroom door and
yell “Time to get up.” Give the kids
a few minutes of cuddle time before
you turn on the light. Make them a
healthy breakfast and send them out
the door with a bottle of water. Staying hydrated means
less fatigue and a better mood and memory. After school,
give them play and quiet time and a structured time and
environment in which to do their homework.
And last, but certainly not least, it is never too early
to teach your children to think positively and to laugh as
often as they can. Except, of course, in class.
Debbie Martinez is a divorce coach with a private
practice in Mount Pleasant. Learn more atwww.transformationthrudivorce.com
BY DEBBIE MarTINEz
Photo by Rick Walo.
Debbie Martinez urges parents to put the right
strategies in place for the new school year.