As the end of the summer quickly approaches, many people in the workforce find an increase in stress. While much of this stress is felt by children, it also affects families, parents, and the workforce.
Why is this so important to recognize? Two–in–five workers – or about 40% of the total labor force – are parents with a child under age 18 at home, while and one–in–nine (or about 11%) have a young child under the age of five. Therefore, a large percentage of the workforce—and likely in your office—who are parents to a child or could even be part-time students themselves.
One of the best ways to smoothly transition into the school year and ease your child’s anxiety is to start by managing your own. Employers also play a major role in the start of a smooth school year by supporting employees who are parenting school-age children. Keep reading to find ways to support yourself, loved ones, and your office.
Supporting Your Child
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80% of K-12 students in the U.S. report feeling stressed “sometimes” or “often.” As a result, it is more than likely that your child will have some difficult emotions in the upcoming weeks. Below are several ways that you can provide your child with the appropriate help that they need.
- Keep an open discussion and be sure to validate whatever emotions they are feeling.
- Remind them that they always have resources through family, school, and peers.
- Utilize the 4-step STOP program developed by Dr. Wendy Silverman, which allows parents to role-play with their children when it comes to coping with stressful situations like school.
- Discuss their worries about the school year and find appropriate ways to think of solutions.
- Is your child worried about not finding the classes? See if you can visit the building beforehand and do a walk through.
- Seek professional help and other resources such as:
It’s not only children that feel the stressors of back-to-school season. In fact, six in 10 parents are so worried about their child that they’ve lost sleep. Further, a new survey revealed that 57% of parents find this to be the most stressful part of the year. Remember, physical well-being directly correlates with mental well-being. Therefore, taking good care of yourself will set you up with the tools you need to start the year off on the right foot for your family.
- Take care of your body by listening to what it needs. Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising when you can.
- Create a back-to-school checklist and budget.
- Practice mediation, yoga, and other stress-reducing activities.
- Though tempting, limit consumption of alcohol and other substances.
- Remember you are not alone during this stressful time. Reach out to those around you, such as loved ones and your community.
- Know when to reach out for professional help. Click here to view the CDC’s list of stress and coping resources.
How Employers Can Help
The number of parents that feel the office offers support during back-to-school is an ongoing issue. However, there are several ways to provide resources and the flexibility that working parents need.
- Offer increased flexibility to accommodate changes in work-life balance.
- Give grace to those that may be struggling and incorporate a positive culture in the office.
- Utilize remote work as a chance to allow decreased absenteeism and allow support.
- Encourage employees to take PTO, ask about their children during check-ins, and show that you are interested in their lives outside of work.
- Allow for open communication, specifically for employees that are parents, when it comes to schedules.
A little goes a long way. Just by implementing one of these tips, you could reduce absenteeism at work, low morale and turnover.
Although back-to-school can be a stressful time, it can also be incredibly exciting. Put your best foot forward and share this article with parents of school-aged children in your life.