5 Ways to Make the New School Year Stress Free

Here are 5 ways you can take the stress out of ‘back to school’ and get a great start on the school year.

  1. The practicalities

You know all about these.  The media is full of things you can buy for the new school year – but you don’t have to buy them!  Yes, children may need a few new clothes, after all they have probably grown during the summer, but don’t go overboard, only buy what is absolutely necessary.

Your child will need school supplies, pens, binders, new school bag etc. At this time of year you can find good deals on these.

Put together some food ideas too.  What can you buy in that will make preparing school lunches easy and quick to prepare?

2.  Establish Routines 

Now is the time to re-establish family routines.  These include regular bedtimes, meal times, homework times as well as the routine of getting out the door in the morning!  having a ‘ready for school routine is one way of preventing the stress that can happen over breakfast!

And don’t forget YOUR routines.  What arrangements can you make that will make life easier for you?

3.  Understand different roles

This is important as understanding people’s roles in helping children make a success if school can prevent stress building up and causing problems.

Your role is the ‘set the scene’ for learning so that your child can benefit from what the teacher is teaching.

The teacher’s role is to teach your child – a task that is made much easier when you have set the scene.

The school’s role is to keep your child safe and to provide as many learning opportunities as possible.

Your child’s role is to do his of her best work and to tell you when he or she is struggling to understand homework assignments.

Don’t get them mixed up!  That leads to stress all around.

4. Get a handle on expectations

Knowing what everyone’s expectations for the new school year are takes away the frustration of not knowing what to do.


What expectations does the teacher have around homework?  What help does he or she expect you to give your child?  Does he or she expect you to provide information when your child finds homework too hard or too easy?

Knowing these expectations takes most of the hassle out of homework time.

School behaviour

Does the school have a policy on dress? Lateness? Absenteeism? Communication with parents?  Does the school expect you to volunteer or to go on  field trips?

You amy already know this – but it might be a good idea to check.

Your expectations

What do you expect from the school, the teacher and your child? What are you going to do if these expectations are not met?  How can you communicate with the school and your child’s teacher?

Do you need to modify your expectations in light of what the school expects?

Your child’s expectations

Talk to your child.  What does he or she expect the new school year to bring?  Do you need to help him or her modify these expectations?  How are you going to do that?

If your expectations and your chid’s expectations do not match the year could be more stress than it needs to be.

5. Open Lines of communication

Knowing how you, your child’s teacher and your child are going to communicate is probably the biggest tip of all.  Discover how to contact your child’s teacher (ask them about the best way to do this).  How and  when do letters get sent from the school?  How can you know what your child is learning in class?

Most of all set aside time each day to talk with your child about their feelings, their work, and any concerns they may have.  Don’t let small difficulties become major problems.  opening lines of communication can prevent that happening.

Quick review.

Make the new school year stress free by handling the practicalities, establishing routines, understanding everyone’s role and their expectations and by keeping lines of communication open at all times.

Believe me, everyone wants a stress free year.  These five tips will help you make it happen.

If, despite these tips, the year starts to get stressful contact me and we can sort it out.


What to do When Your Child Hates School

When your child tells you that he hates going to school – take him seriously!  Don’t offer platitudes such as , “Oh, it will be OK next week”, or ” Things will get better” because your child is pretty sure they wont. “I hate school”, is a cry for help. A serious cry for help. A cry that cannot be ignored or brushed off.  A cry that needs care and attention the moment the words come out of the child’s mouth.

So what do you do when your child tells you that she ‘hates school’ or ‘hates her teacher’ or ‘hates homework’?

Work through these seven steps to find out how to solve the situation.

1. Take your child’s comments seriously

Don’t ignore, or brush off, your child’s comments even if you think that your child is just going through ‘a phase’.  Hate is an emotional word and one that most children only use when they have nowhere else to turn.  Your child might think that he or she hates school but in reality there is something else that your child hates, something that he or she finds hard to think about let alone talk about.

2. Get past the words

Your child doesn’t hate school.  He or she hates something about their experience in school and they only way they can express their feelings is by using strong statements.   Don’t tell your child that he or she doesn’t hate school – keep that to yourself – or you risk losing their trust.  Go along with your child’s statement until you can discover what caused it.

3. Ask the right questions

Now to the tricky part.  You have accepted that your child has strong feelings about school/their teacher/their work but now you need to discover why he or she has these feelings.  You need to get to the truth behind your child’s statement.  This has to be done carefully by asking the type of questions that will help your child understand his feelings and you understand what is causing them.  Start by saying how sorry you are that your child feels that way and perhaps it would help if he talked about it.  Had anything happened that annoyed him?  Did he get into trouble at school?  Is he being bullied? Is he struggling to do the work?  What has the teacher done to make him feel that way?  Ask questions that provide you with information

4. Don’t judge

Don’t comment on any of the answers.  Accept what your child is telling you without judging the right or wrong of the situation.  You can use questions to gently help your child better understand what has happened to cause this outburst but do not judge any of your child’s actions or those of others.  Listen and try to make sense of what has taken place.

5. Discuss options

When you know why your child is upset you can start to move towards solutions.  These solutions should come from a discussion with your child about what might be possible.  At this stage your child might dismiss these options as unworkable but persevere and offer several options until you can both agree on what needs doing. This step may take some time and you may not be happy with the result.  You may end up having to do something that you really don’t want to do. Measure your discomfort against that of your child’s and make the best choices.

6. Follow through

Now that you have a possible solution, one that you have discussed with your child and that you have both agreed to, it is time to follow through.  If you do not take action your child will lose trust in you and in your ability to provide the support he needs.  Don’t wait.  Start providing the support your child needs as soon as possible.  And set a date to review progress, to check if the problem has been adequately solved.  No one gets everything right on the first try so be prepared to…

7. …re assess the situation

Has what you tried worked? Has the problem been completely solved? or is there something more that needs doing?  Now is the time to evaluate your success.  Whatever happens do not give up on your child.  He or she has cried out for help – make sure that help is forthcoming!

If you want to learn more about how to help your child make sense of school download this pdf

Make School Make Sense

and register for my live webinar on September 28th, at 6PM Pacific ..