5 Tips for Less Back-to-School Stress
Patti Ford knows how to make the back-to-school season bearable — like getting her husband to help with the homework! The hilarious Insane in the Mom Brain blogger might purposely ignore school events but she has some really great ideas for parents — like a dedicated work station complete with a dry erase board for school work or how to help your child get over a fear of undressing in the gym locker room. Read all of Ford's easy-going tips for a stress free back-to-school transition.
And for more helpful tips, check out Care.com's Guide to Managing Stress.
- Don't Project Your Stress
If you stress, they stress. If you take it all in stride, so will they. Everyone deals with everything differently. Some are organized (my husband), and some are not (The Boy).
- Let Them Do It Their Way
Kids have got to learn. College comes in the blink of an eye. And then real life. And we aren't there to do ANY of this for them then. So give them some room to do things how they like to do them, even if it drives you insane. I'm a freaking MESS and I've always done OK.
- Fall Into Routine Naturally
I used to start putting The Boy to bed at his school bedtime about a week before school started. Just in case. Nowadays, he stays up until who knows when in the summer and he sleeps until 9 a.m. or so. Thank. God. When school starts I figure his body will get the hint when he starts bumping into walls and falling down stairs by lunchtime, then everything will work itself out and he'll be fine.
- Give Your Kids Perspective
I was the Queen of screwing everything up and making a fool out of myself and I lived to tell the tales. Hearing my experiences with Middle School hell (or whatever else he's worried about) always help to get him laughing and ease the stress. If none of that works, I just tell him he's being ridiculous and to go to bed.
- Have a Dedicated Work Space
I made a little homework station in our office. There's a small bookcase with a shelf for his backpack and a shelf for his papers, and we hung a large dry erase calendar over it so that he can transfer things from his agenda to the board. The Boy eventually stopped doing any of the things that I had instructed him to do, and eventually I stopped caring, and we went back to me digging around in a backpack full of used Kleenex and melted candy, looking for clues as to what the hell he was supposed to be doing in school.
Get more of Patti's humor and tips in our full interview below. You can also find Patti on Facebook.
Tell us about your blog/family
My blog is nonsense. Seriously. It's total nonsense about the ridiculous things that happen to me and go through my brain. I'm a complete mess and so is my family.
Tell us about how you and your family handle the back to school season
We keep really, really busy traveling during the summer, so by the time the new school year starts, we're ready to give up the vagabond life and start a routine again. We have no downtime to overthink it, and that's the way we like it.
Can you share your solution for some of these all-too-typical back-to-school problems?
Back to school anxiety:
Last year was difficult since he was starting Middle School. THAT was a huge change. There's the whole locker thing, changing classes, tons of teachers, and being in locker rooms in your underwear. We just talk him through everything that he's worried about. "Yes, a bunch of other boys are gonna see you in your underwear, but you're gonna see them in their underwear too. So that seems pretty Even Stevens too me. Everyone is gonna feel awkward and be too worried about anyone else looking at them to worry about you." Thankfully, most schools have an open house night where you can check out the classes, meet the teachers, and get the layout of the school. Thank God for open house nights!
Studying For Tests:
This one is easy peasy, George and Weesie. I make The Hub do it. (A) Once my son hit 4th grade most of his work was wayyyyyy over my head, and (2) When I try to do any kind of homework/studying with him I end up wanting to throw something at him. In my experience, kids doing homework are my least favorite kind of kids. I even prefer a puker to a homeworker. Pukers are sad and tired and homeworkers are irritable turds.
Forgetting School Events:
Look, there are LOTS of school events. And I use the word "events" quite loosely. When the Boy was younger I was all jacked up about these events. I would sorta be excited to make an appearance at his school and see what was going on. Now The Boy is 12 and I get the gist. My name is Patti and I IGNORE school events. And what I don't ignore, I forget. And I'm totally okay with that.
Getting Kids Back Into Early Wake-up Times:
Back in the olden days when The Boy was in elementary school, I used to worry about this, but I have no idea why. You see, no matter what time I put him to bed at night he would ALWAYS get up at the butt crack of dawn. In bed by 8 PM? Up at 5:30 to get ready for school, 1 ½ hours earlier than in any way necessary. It. Didn't. Matter.
Patti Ford is the witty blogger of Insane in the Mom Brain where she shares all of her "nonsense". Ford has made appearances on My Fox Houston, Great Day Houston and the Hines Side Show. She currently resides in Texas with her husband and son, aka "the boy."
For more tips, read the rest of our Care.com Interview Series: Back to School Tips.
Photo used with permission by Patti Ford.