home
RSS
Seeking Serenity: Chilling in the back-to-school chaos
August 10th, 2011
05:07 PM ET

Seeking Serenity: Chilling in the back-to-school chaos

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity - the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

It has become inevitable that each year, at some point in August, my husband will begin talking about new classes, new wardrobes, new gear and the very long list of things we need to do in preparation for the kids to go back to school.

And every year, this is all I hear him say: “Blah blah blah blah kids go back to school.”

My own early school years were spent in Iran and several Western European countries (after I fled the revolution), where back-to-school just meant you got up early one morning in the fall and went back to school.

There were no special shopping trips, play dates, orientations, parent meetings, fundraising events, committees, after-school enrichment scheduling or educational effectiveness strategy sessions that I can recall.

These days, back-to-school is science — elevated, almost, to the ranks of a “Hallmark holiday,” complete with its attendant frenzy. I would not be surprised at all, for example, if there’s a back-to-school greeting card, balloon and stuffed animal gift set for sale in a superstore somewhere. Or if someone in Manhattan is offering her pricey services as a back-to-school consultant.

So here I sit once again, staring down another school year, trying to beat back the dread of those first few weeks of chaos.

“Back to school is a time when anyone who tends towards neurosis is going to get a big boost," says Kristin Carlson, working mother of two, from Glenwood Springs, Colorado. “First of all, there’s the journey to buy back-to-school supplies, for which we always seem to be on the late end. Somehow I’m the last parent to get the memo and by the time we arrive at the store, there are exactly three loose-leaf notebooks and they’re either this burnt orange or swampy green color that neither of my kids wants. And of course my child will end up sitting next to the kid with the immaculate My Pretty Pony Trapper Keeper.”

(Mental note: Go to the store this week. Buy Pony Trapper Keeper.)

She continues: “Then there are lunches. You want the lunch to be healthy, but you want them to eat it. And you also don’t want some kid to look over and go: ‘Eeeew! What is that?!’”

(Mental note no. 2: Don’t ever pack Ghormeh Sabzi for kids’ lunches.)

“And sports. There’s the announcement for tryouts, which my friend missed one year. But then there’s also the physical, which we have to do in our town in order to participate in sports. We have a fantastic program where our medical center does free physicals for anyone going back to school. That announcement’s in the paper. We pay attention, but it’s amazing what you miss. It always ends up becoming this crazy last-minute dash. The parent nights, the fundraising, the doctor and dentist appointments, the tutoring ... " Kristin trails off.

I’m getting a sweat mustache just listening to her.

“And forget about my old nemesis, the Parent Portal!”

I ask myself: What kind of evil device is this?

“It’s a website that tells you things like if your child is in his seat on time everyday or whether she’s turned in her assignment. If your child misses anything, it will be on the Parent Portal,” she says. ”And the thing is, I don’t even know my password for the Portal. I rebel against it. But then I also feel guilty because I think I should be checking it.”

I hang up in hives and immediately reach out to Dr. Patricia Farrell, licensed psychologist and author of “It’s Not All In Your Head,” to get some advice.

“It’s important to remember that it’s normal to feel anxious,” Farrell tells me. “It becomes an issue when you are frozen by the anxiety. Parents have to look within themselves and see what is making them so stressed. They also have to be aware that there is something called ‘contagion in anxiety.’ You can become anxious simply by being around stressed-out people. Children are particularly vulnerable to contagious anxiety. If their parents are stressed, children see and feel it. They model that stress, almost take it in. They see you as the person who is going to guide, support and care for them. So if you’re not able to handle stress, how can they?”

I ask Farrell for tips to make the back-to-school transition smoother and less stressful for both parents and their children. Her suggestions include:

Establishing routines. You want children to have the best possible orientation toward school. It’s really important for children to have a routine - and that includes bedtime, because if kids do not get enough sleep, it’s going to affect their performance in school.

Begin to establish some routines a few weeks before school begins. This will ease both you and your children into the school year, rather than creating an abrupt and possibly stressful start.

Organizing activities and materials. Anxiety becomes compounded by a lack of organization. Create a schedule for both school-related and after-school activities. Also, work with your children to organize the place where they will keep their books and materials. But avoid overscheduling and endless to-do lists: relaxing and playing are just as important to your child’s development as active learning.

Communicating with your child. Allow your child to talk about how he or she feels about going back to school. Avoid hovering or being overprotective. Instead, ask her what she’s looking forward to and whether she has any concerns. Once you find out what the concerns might be, you can begin to address them.

If your child seems particularly nervous or frightened and the issues appear to be more than you can handle, don’t feel like you have to be the expert. Look for resources in your community or even get a referral and go for a few sessions with a specialist.

And what about parents?

Taking some deep breaths. “Everyone has to learn a little bit of self-help. It’s not bad for both parents and children to learn some breathing relaxation techniques,” suggests Farrell.

Breathing relaxation is very comforting. It has a calming effect, and there is a physical reaction to it.  It has to do with carbon dioxide levels in your blood. It’s a powerful way of relieving tension and bringing about a sense of well-being. And though you might need quiet time for meditation, you can do breathing exercises anytime and anywhere. (You can find scores of breathing relaxation exercises, including Farrell’s, on YouTube.)

And most important, perhaps, is the willingness to accept that there is no such thing as perfection. But what may come close is the blur of the sweet memories of childhood summers and school years melting into one another.


soundoff (1,439 Responses)
  1. 토토사이트

    Hey there! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you've got right here on this post. I'll be coming back to your blog for more soon.

    https://openclassrooms.com/en/members/f42t9mhq2wm6

    June 23, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 케이출장

    Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    http://massage6keenankcje.tearosediner.net/7-answers-to-the-most-frequently-asked-questions-about-chuljang-anma

    June 23, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 출장안마

    This is the perfect web site for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic which has been written about for ages. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

    http://massage9abregetdml.bearsfanteamshop.com/how-to-explain-chuljangmasaji-to-your-boss

    June 23, 2021 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 출장

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

    http://www.serbiancafe.com/lat/diskusije/new/redirect.php?url=https://we.riseup.net/casino1v7ovjcl272

    June 23, 2021 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. pharmaceptica

    hydroxyclorquin https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Earl Dworak

    After I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any approach you can take away me from that service? Thanks!

    https://whatsondigest.com/members/bostonmamoversinfo91/activity/1525/

    June 23, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Best CBD Oil for Pain

    It's the best time to make some plans for the future and it's time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

    https://www.sfgate.com/market/article/best-cbd-oil-for-pain-15847757.php

    June 23, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 출장안마

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I actually believed you'd have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

    http://massage1celeenzyrj.fotosdefrases.com/10-things-everyone-hates-about-chuljang

    June 23, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 토토사이트

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am having issues with your RSS. I donít know why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.fcviktoria.cz/media_show.asp?id=2924&id_clanek=2467&media=0&type=1&url=http://troyauhw738.jigsy.com/entries/general/what-s-the-current-job-market-for-ED86A0ED86A0EC82ACEC9DB4ED8AB8-professionals-like-

    June 23, 2021 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 케이출장

    Your style is really unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this page.

    http://kikuya-rental.com/bbs/jump.php?url=https://k-anma.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 먹튀검증업체

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit once again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

    https://www.gatesofantares.com/players/casino9goatsoap66/activity/614406/

    June 23, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 부산 출장마사지

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS issues? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    https://pastebin.pl/view/04f403d7

    June 23, 2021 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 출장마사지

    Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://youtoome.ru/user/casino5z0knonm519

    June 23, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 출장

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this blog. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now 😉

    http://myanmar.craigslists.biz/index.php?page=user&action=pub_profile&id=111421

    June 23, 2021 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 부산출장안마

    I was able to find good information from your articles.

    https://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/beta/team_display.php?teamid=1913099

    June 23, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 출장

    Hello there! This article could not be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I'll forward this article to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

    http://www.huaqin.cc/Redirect.aspx?url=https://postheaven.net/massage8v9xlcac352/h2-barefoot-ashiatsu-care-what-are-the-advantages-h2-are-you-aware-that

    June 23, 2021 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 출장마사지

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the website is also very good.

    http://tudositok.hu/redirect.php?ad_id=10000033&ad_url=https://www.boredpanda.com/author/casi-n-o-0-5-2-50/

    June 23, 2021 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 부산 출장안마

    Good web site you have here.. Itís hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    https://bookingsilo.trade/wiki/Can_Be_Reflexology_The_Newer_Route_For_Treating_Lower_Back_Ache

    June 23, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 출장안마

    This is the right website for anybody who wishes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just great!

    https://www.argfx1.com/user/casino1n2iirgt392

    June 24, 2021 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 출장마사지

    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this topic. I love all of the points you've made.

    http://massage0inbardoylu.lucialpiazzale.com/the-chuljang-anma-case-study-you-ll-never-forget

    June 24, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 부산출장안마

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this web site needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the advice!

    https://askubuntu.com/users/1220176

    June 24, 2021 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Warren Sisti

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to offer something again and aid others such as you helped me.

    https://inotebook.ru/0qy3riXxUao.html

    June 24, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 출장마사지

    I enjoy reading an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

    http://www.congoemploi.net/offres/user/profile/173746

    June 24, 2021 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 출장

    This page really has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    http://99nfft.com/space-uid-239437.html

    June 24, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 출장안마

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve been to this site before but after going through some of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

    https://list.ly/gwyneypjkc

    June 24, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 출장안마

    Itís nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    https://mozillabd.science/wiki/The_Way_To_Have_A_Distinctive_and_Fixing_Turkish_Bath_Massage

    June 24, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Debera Mitro

    How can I keep up with posts made on the Blogspot websites?

    https://www.facebook.com/KateKowalskyWebMarketing

    June 24, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 출장안마

    Great site you have here.. Itís difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    https://domiwiki.ru/user/profile/18310

    June 24, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Phung Baysmore

    I would like to be a creative writing professor, but I can no find out exactly what they do. I love to write, and to help other people become better writers, so that is why I want to become a creative writing/english professor. Does this fit with the profession? What is the life of such a professor like?.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmkowalsky/

    June 24, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 케이출장

    Itís difficult to find well-informed people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    https://torgi.gov.ru/forum/user/edit/1388330.page

    June 24, 2021 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 출장마사지

    Great info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!

    http://forum188.net/member.php?action=profile&uid=87228

    June 24, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. 출장마사지

    Right here is the perfect web site for everyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that's been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    http://timoore.eu/skins/timoore/redirect.php?url=https://anma6riverhvtc664176.carrd.co/

    June 24, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. 출장마사지

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://sc.devb.gov.hk/TuniS/soulanma.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Cesar Deconti

    The following time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to learn, but I actually thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you can fix in the event you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

    http://yardsale.secondlisting.com/author/useday6/

    June 24, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 부산 출장

    This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thank you!

    http://www.bausch.com.tw/zh-tw/redirect/?url=https://postheaven.net/z5hgkso353/h2-therapeutic-massage-and-its-many-benefits-h2-therapeutic-massage-is-a

    June 24, 2021 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Leonardo Birkner

    Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired! Very useful information particularly the closing phase 🙂 I deal with such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

    https://antonsen-crews.technetbloggers.de/providing-compassionate-and-systematic-boston-massachusetts-home-care

    June 24, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 부산 출장마사지

    Right here is the right blog for anyone who hopes to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that has been discussed for a long time. Great stuff, just great!

    http://99nfft.com/space-uid-295565.html

    June 24, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. pharmaceptica

    best sildenafil brand https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 출장

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It's always helpful to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something from other sites.

    https://www.creativelive.com/student/synthia-lynsey-37?via=accounts-freeform_4

    June 24, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Leave a Reply to 토토사이트


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.