Dealing with back-to-school stress

A parent educator shares some steps families can take to reduce the level of stress that can come with the start of the school year.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Tuesday marked the first day back to school for thousands of students in Hampton Roads.

13News Now reached out to Sam Fabian, a parent educator with CHKD about how to handle kids heading back to school. Fabian said it can be stressful on the whole family, including for parents and grandparents.

"We can get ourselves all wound up, and think that you have to everything right now,"  explained Fabian.

Fabian said you don't have to try and figure everything out in the first week, but she does think having a family meeting is crucial.

"Say, 'Hey! Listen, things are changing.' Ask, 'What can we do as a family to make it all work for everybody so the family is involved in that decision making of a routine, within limits?'"

It can takes weeks, even close to a month to get a new schedule down perfect. Fabian said while you are working on the new routine, make sure you aren't a nagging parent. Ask questions and let your child process their thoughts.

"Instead of saying, 'Go get your backpack, go get your shoes,' stop and say, 'Hey, what do you need to carry your books to school today?' They will stop and think, 'Oh, duh. My backpack,'" she said.

Fabian said most parents ask at the end of the day, how their children's day was. She suggests you word it in a way that children have to answer with more than "OK," or "Fine."

"Say, 'Hey, what new friend did you meet today?' Or, 'Hey, who did you sit by at lunch time?' to engage them in a conversation to help normalize them, what is happening with them now, until the rest of the school year."

Fabian also has another piece of advice. If you pack your children's lunch, make sure they help you with it and be part of the decision-making process. It will be part of the new routine that everyone has to adjust to for a great school year.

PHOTOS: Kids' first day of class for the 2017 school year

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