For many parents and their kids, going back to school can be stressful. This is especially true when there are long holidays coming up, with schooldays scrunched in between. This, too, can elicit feelings of distress, but there are a few ways to manage this peculiar stop-and-start period.
Manage Your Sleep
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s important to rein in your sleeping habits, or non-sleeping habits during school holidays. Try to minimize the off-days where you stay up late, and go easy on the caffeine.
For parents, avoid going on an alcohol binge during the holidays. A couple of sloe gins or ales can’t hurt, but keep yourself from knocking back too many pints, or emptying a bottle of wine. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is no good for good sleep.
For teens, minimize the intake of energy drinks, soda, and coffee. You’ll need enough quality sleep during the holidays to avoid disrupting your regular sleeping habits when school (and work) is back.
Make a Schedule
On the subject of managing, it helps to make a schedule to pin down what needs to be done, and when you can relax and enjoy your break. Take some time out to map out your activities for the week, or month if possible.
Make it a family task—by involving all the members of your household, you can make sure there’s room in your daily lives for shared activities. Parents can make daily and weekly schedules for work, then allot the remaining time for family meals or outings.
As for the kids, family activities can be scheduled, once time has been set aside for activities like sports, studying, reviewing for tests, and other important tasks. Daily life can be less stressful and chaotic if the family keeps to a schedule of daily individual tasks and shared activities.
Make a List
Apart from planning your weekly or monthly schedule, make a list of things to look forward to whenever school starts again. This can apply to both kids and parents. For children, it can be things like being able to see friends again, making new friends, or joining a new club. For parents, it can be a list of positives like knowing that your child is growing socially and intellectually, and developing skills that will help them succeed later on in life.
Yes, meditate. It’s a good way to reduce stress at any age, and meditating isn’t as difficult as you might think. At any time that you find you have time to spare, sit or lie in a comfortable spot and empty your mind. Be aware of your posture and breathing. If you get interrupted by a stray thought, respond to it with an “oh well” and continue focusing on your breathing. Do this for at least 10 minutes out of your daily schedule. You may find yourself reaping some of its excellent benefits.
Make Some Changes
Try making small changes to your daily routine. In the case of school, try encouraging your kids to make their daily trips to school different, such as bicycling their way there. If the distance isn’t too great and there’s a safe route, using a bicycle can be fun and healthy–especially for teens. Parking their bicycles on campus shouldn’t be a bother since there are many cycle shelters for schools now.
Another change could be made to the kids’ packed lunch or snack if you do that for them. Make a change to their food by making it healthier. Pack a healthy item like fresh fruit, yogurt or vegetables.
Make Room for Adjustments
Your daily schedule is one of the main ways to deal with the roller coaster-like stretches of holidays and schooldays. Sometimes, unexpected events like bad weather or a family emergency can throw you off your schedule. Make allowances for these sorts of unforeseen kinks life may throw at you on occasion. And remember to do as we always do: keep calm and carry on.
Keeping a schedule, meditating, making small changes and so on may seem like mundane tasks, but if these are implemented, you can make everyday life during schooldays less stressful.
You may also discover that by making a schedule and keeping to it as a unit, you can learn and simultaneously teach valuable skills to your children, such as discipline and time management. Going back to school after a few days or even weeks of break is better dealt with when you have a plan. Make one.