Back-to-School Stress & The Solutions To Keep Your Sanity

It’s that time of year. School’s back in session! The first feeling is relief. A touch of sweet sadness at how quickly they’re growing. And then, a few days later, the stress comes.
 
 
As part of the Care.com 2015 Back to School Survey, we have compiled five of the top pain points school season brings grownups – and how to find relief.
 
 
 

School Stress #1: Not getting “the best” teacher

25% are worried about their child’s teacher and 46% of parents would pay their child for good grades.
 

How to Handle:

Give it some time before you worry. But check your child’s school work and compare the homework assignments to friends who have children in different classrooms. If possible, try to volunteer in the classroom a few hours a month or quarter, and learn more about the teacher and his or her style. If necessary, look into hiring a homework helper or tutor so you don’t always have to be the “bad guy.”
 
 
 

School Stress #2: Planning after-school activities and child care

 

How to Handle:

So many activities, so little time. Literally. There are not enough hours in the day for school, practice, fun and rest. Start with one activity for each season and go from there. Find a caregiver who can drive your kids, but also monitor the time at home doing homework, vegging on technology and having fun. To find a great sitter, act fast. Post a job and once someone you like responds, call them. Still interested? Ask to meet that day. Then run the reference and background checks and meet again with the whole family. Yes, finding after-school help can cause stress, but it can also be done very quickly.
 
 
 

School Stress #3: Cold and flu season

You know the feeling. You hear one kid in the class has the stomach bug and you know you’re doomed. You just don’t know when it’s going to strike. And it’s bound to hit each kid – the nanny – and you. How many days from work will that cost you? It’s no wonder 51% of working parents say the back-to-school season interferes with their work. Not to mention school holidays, teacher conferences and performances you have to schedule time around.
 

How to Handle:

Besides splitting the time with a supportive partner or family member, ask your employer for a subsidized back-up care benefit.  So if you have a change in care plans (child is home sick, nanny takes a vacation) you can have a fully-vetted professional nanny at your door to help (and it’s often subsidized by the company). Even if you want to work from home while she’s there, you’re getting projects done without calling in sick! (Check out the workplace benefit)
 
 
 

School Stress #4: Unsupportive boss

48% of parents feel an imbalanced divide at home. 44% of working parents say they feel distracted at work during the back-to-school season. And when child care falls through 60% of parents say they go to work late or early and 41% to call in sick.
 

How to Handle:

The first step is working at showing your boss you can still get everything done, as long as you can have some flexibility with your schedule. The next step is getting more support at home, going over your individual schedules, needs and strengths. You should also suggest a company subsidized back-up care program (see Cold and flu season above!) and if these don’t work, it’s possible you need to find a new employer who values your family responsibilities.
 
 
 

School Stress #5: Bullying

20% of parents worry about their child being bullied in school and 1 in 5 parents don’t feel confident that they know the signs to look out for if their child is having trouble adjusting in school.
 

How to Handle:

Talk to your child about kindness on a regular basis (Are there people who aren’t kind? How does that affect you?) And if your child is reluctant to go to school, shows signs of physical distress, or clams up when you try to discuss school — bullying may be the culprit. Find a good time when he might confide (bedtime?) – and the right person to talk to your child (your nanny or favorite auntie might get more out of her than you can!). Get more tips on bullying.
 
 

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Katie Bugbee

Senior Managing Editor at Care.com
Care.com's premise is simple: Our consumer matching solutions allow families to search for, qualify, vet, connect with, and ultimately select caregivers in a low-cost, reliable and easy way. Our platform also provides caregivers with solutions to create personal profiles, describe their unique skills and experience, and otherwise differentiate themselves in a highly fragmented marketplace.
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