Coping With Back To School

As a stay-at-home mum to two boys aged 11 and 16 I have a good few years experience of the back to school routine. I've had to deal with excitement, some anxiety, and the planning. I've spent days, even weeks, getting ready for the first day back and I like to make sure they're prepared in every way possible. Of course these days, with COVID-19 still a threat, there are extra precautions to take and new things to add to the purchase list. Overall we've coped well with back to school, but as a parent the stress related to them being back at school is something I don't share with my boys.

Preparing for Back To School

September is always a stressful time. There's equipment to buy, uniforms to wash, and talking to the boys about the start of school. But at a time when there's a virus that could strike at any moment it feels even more stressful.


For the entirety of the lockdown my family and I have stayed away from people. We haven't seen family members, we haven't visited anyone, we haven't even had fast food. So the thought of my boys going back to school at a time when the number of cases of COVID-19 are increasing scares me. I wonder how long it will be before schools are closed again or I hear of a case in the school. The schools have communicated their intentions to try to protect the students as much as they can, and this has helped. Like buying face masks which are to be worn in corridors and communal areas, or giving the boys hand sanitiser to use throughout the day.

It's not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.

Hans Selye

First Days Back

My youngest is starting Year 7, it's his first few days in Secondary School and he won't get the usual experience. The school have had to implement a one-way system throughout the school, which will help them cope with the number of children walking around the school. They've staggered the lunch times for each year, which means my son won't be socialising with children not in Year 7. There's also new behaviour rules that encourage children to clean their hands more often and wipe down their desks whenever they enter and leave a classroom. It's a completely different experience to usual, and I wonder how the children will cope - which adds to my stress.


With increased stress levels, and not a lot I can do mitigate the risk to my boys, I have to use other methods to ease my stress. Here's what I'm doing:

  • Walks. Daily walks really help and chatting to the Hubby while we walk is a great way to ease the worry. We talk through anything we're concerned about and sometimes come up with conclusions that will help all of us. 


  • Reading. Picking up a fiction novel is a good way to escape the stress. You get to step into a fictional world and read about other people's stress or adventures, taking away focus from your own.

  • Games. Taking my mind off any stress really helps me and games are a useful way of doing this. At the moment I play Fortnite with the Hubby, and while I'm not very good I enjoy playing and it's a break away from the day-to-day.

  • The occasional bourbon. I am not, by any means, suggesting you use alcohol to ease stress. But let's face it, we're all adults and we use alcohol to ease stress. I don't drink often, just one night every two weeks, but on that night the Hubby and I choose a couple of movies to watch and we have a few glasses of bourbon. It's a routine we've established during lockdown and it's something we've both started to look forward to. 

You can't always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.

Wayne Dyer

Back to School Time Passes

Within a few weeks the back to school stress will have passed and we'll all be in a new routine. It encompasses new measures, like the face masks and hand sanitiser, but it's some sort of normal and as we get used to the new routine the stress will go away. Until it does I will use my stress-busting methods and wait until we're all used to being in the new routine.

How are you coping with back to school?

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