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Back To School Stress Busters For Moms And Kids

Yesterday I received an AskKaren email about selecting a brand new hairstyle for Back To School from the nervous mom who was trying to help her daughter get ready for freshman year in high school.

After providing some hair suggestions the mom thanked me and said, if only you could provide other back to school stress busters.  Which got me to thinking.  What a great idea for a blog.

So what are some of the main back-to-school stressors for both moms and kids?  Experts have suggested that the fear of the unknown is the most stressful part of back to school.

It's even more stressful when a child is entering a brand new school such as starting middle school or high school.

Listed below are some ways to minimize back to school stresses:

1.  Hair - Select easy to re-create styles that aren't too drastic.

Avoid going with a dramatic makeover, especially close to the back-to-school date.  If the makeover goes seriously wrong or you can't recreate the same magic at home as the stylist did in the salon you could be adding extra stress.  The best time to try out new hair styles, textures or lengths is at the beginning of the summer when you still have time to tweak the results into a workable routine.

If a drastic hairstyle is desired make sure the school doesn't have rules against certain hair colors, lengths or unusual styles.  Some schools will send students home if their hair is considered a distraction or against written policies.

For older kids who might have piercings, tats or other distinguishing marks the same rules about school policies may apply.  When in doubt always ask.

2.  Clothing - Plan As Far In Advance As Possible

If a school requires a specific uniform be sure to shop early to guarantee you can get the items you need before the back-to-school rush begins.

When a uniform is not required be sure to start shopping early for any necessary school clothes, shoes or supplies to snag any sales that aren't specific to back-to-school and might offer better pricing.

3.  Morning Rush - Create schedules for the entire family

Plan a shower and bathroom schedule so that everyone in the house has plenty of time to get ready.  Create a launch pad near the exit door to stage school items such as books, papers, knapsacks, shoes and other items that tend to get lost at the last minute.  Make sure everything is laid out the night before so the morning rush is stress free.

It's also helpful to pre-pack lunches and store them in the refrigerator rather than trying to make them in the morning when time is at a premium.  Having a launch pad with all necessary items lined up and lunches prepacked can cut morning stress by as much as 50% according to experts.

4.  Teacher Stress - Go Out Of Your Way To Meet The Teach

Teachers have just as much stress dealing with a room full of new faces and parents as kids have dealing with their new classmates.  Parents and students should go out of their way to meet their teachers before school starts if possible.  This breaks the ice on both fronts.

If a child has special issues like shyness or health challenges the parents should definitely make a point of meeting the teacher and sharing that information.  It will make it easier for both the teacher and the child.

Some schools offer Open Houses before school for parents and students to meet their teachers.  If this type of event is an option be sure to take it.  If not, parents should make it a point  to introduce themselves to the teacher on the first day of school.

Getting to know the teacher at the beginning of the school year also makes it easier during teach conferences which can be stressful in their own right.

5.  Get Any Required Volunteering Over With Quickly

Some schools require moms and parents to participate as volunteers for various school events.  This can cause stress for many parents.  To avoid feeling undue pressure parents should try to determine what volunteer activities they are required to contribute and then sign up right away to get those tasks which are easiest for your time and schedule.

Once you get the tasks which you know you can handle best you eliminate the pressure to being asking to do other tasks since you have already signed up.  If you are still asked to help after you have already signed up it's easy to explain that you can't take on any other tasks because you're already committed.  That way you can say no with a clear conscience but still do your part.

6.  Deal With Any Unknowns For Your Kids

Reduce any stress for your kids if they are going to a brand new school or a new level such as middle school or high school.  If the school has a new student orientation encourage them to go so they feel more comfortable when school starts.

If the school doesn't have an orientation find out if there are any summer events at the school (summer musicals, lectures, sports, etc.,) that you might be able to take your child to so you can both get a sneak peak and eliminate the fear of the unknown.

Summary

With a little planning any stress can be minimized if not completely eliminated for a happy back-to-school experience.

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