The following guest post comes from Mary Sue Youn, Director of Educational Consulting at College Coach and former senior Admissions Officer at Barnard College and Whittier College.
Employers might notice a lot of distracted employees this time of year. Summer may be long over, but fall is notorious for stress related to children's homework assignments and newly increased rigor and demands at school.
My household has felt all these stresses. Some parents don't realize there are things they can do to help their children, and themselves. For employees, having supports in place can substantially diminish the upheaval while at the same time supporting productivity. Here are a few typical areas of anxiety, and tips to help working parents with the back-to-school transition.
Back To School Tips for Working Parents
The Common Core
This has become an enormous source of stress for many parents. Many states have adopted new Common Core standards and new state testing this year. College Coach can keep working parents informed and up to date on Common Core changes. In fact, Elementary School Essentials and Mastering Middle School workshops contain substantial content dealing directly with the Common Core and its impact on the learning environment.
Back to School Night
Work responsibilities may keep parents from this event. But it's still important for them to touch base with teachers. Reminding parents to establish that line of communication is a crucial step to finding the resources necessary for a successful school year.
You'd be surprised how stressful establishing a homework routine can be. And when evening routines are upended, it affects everyone right into the next day. We suggest parents start the year by establishing consistent homework routines and expectations. Are they expected to do homework as soon as they get home or later in the evening? Are they allowed screen time before homework is done? How does the routine change on days where they may have after school activities?
If a child is constantly fighting homework and procrastinating on their projects, I suggest parents try drawing up a "homework contract" with their child to put expectations in writing. Settling into an effective homework routine is a priority to reducing stress for working parents, and our webinars give clear, concise tips to ease homework struggles.
The New Schedule
My daughters are now in two different schools and, therefore, are on two different schedules. Drop off, pick up, and school events are at different times. Setting up a family calendar and getting all the important dates written down helps ensure everyone's on schedule. By attending the first PTA meeting of the year, parents can learn what's coming up and what's most important to prioritize.
Parents aren't the only ones feeling the pressure of back to school. Kids also get stressed by new teachers, new classmates and new routines, so putting some family fun days on the schedule is crucial for this time of year. These more casual outings also offer the opportunity for kids to open up to their parents about how they're feeling about the transition into a new school year.
Whether the student is a first grader or a tenth grader, back to school is a time when working parents can feel pulled in many directions.
workshops, one on one counseling sessions and learning center resources can connect your employees with our educational experts to get their questions answers and restore their peace of mind about their child's educational path. As a working parent, knowing that my children are happily settled into a new routine and ready to learn makes all the difference in the world to me ; and lets me fully focus my attention back into a balanced work-life once again.
National Work and Family Month is all about supporting all areas of employees' lives, and education is a major source of stress.