We’ve all seen those back-to-school ads: kids look depressed while moms look positively gleeful, happily dancing through the aisles of an office supply store as they lob pencils and glue into their carts. But in reality, moms are often anxious at back-to-school time. They worry about everything from how they’ll get everything on the school supply list to how their kids will manage with a new teacher. Here are a few CBT strategies for managing parental back-to-school anxiety:
Break the to-do list into steps: Moms are often overwhelmed by all of the things they have to purchase and organize before school begins. Personally, I think that the office supply store back-to-school commercial would be most accurate if it showed bewildered moms poring over a lengthy, confusing school supplies list.
There’s lots of stuff to be done for back-to-school, so why not create a back-to-school to-do list that you can move through over the next several weeks? You won’t feel overwhelmed if you assign yourself a specific task for each week (maybe one week is school supplies, one is clothes). And don’t be afraid to delegate! If your kids are old enough, they can get online and pick out their own school supplies and clothes and shoes (with your final approval, of course).
Confront your worries with the “worst case scenario” technique: I’ve talked about this technique in a previous #WellnessWednesday video. If you’re worried about anything related to your child’s upcoming school year, consider the worst-case scenario and what you would do to manage it. Most likely you’ll find that the worst-case scenario you fear is very unlikely; and/or that you can think of a plan to help you and your child manage it effectively.
Think about the longer-term: Sure, the idea of starting a new school year is daunting now. But how will it look in October? Will you even remember the specific type of notebooks you bought for your kids, or your fears about their new classroom situations? Remember that back-to-school transitions happen very quickly, and before you know it, everything that was once new becomes just another part of the routine.
Have any experiences with your own back-to-school anxiety? Please share in the “comments” section!