Big Brain Back-to-SchoolAs back to school days approach there are lots of opportunities to make this time of year much less stressful for you and your children.

New clothes, new teachers, new friends, getting the right classes and dozens of other decisions need to be processed and the pressure to get everything right can be overwhelming. Here are a couple of tips to keep your thoughtful Big Brain in control and keep your impulsive Little Brain from creeping in to cause additional problems.

1)   Telegraph what is going to happen. Talk to your kids and let them know that even if they don’t get all the classes or have every item they need on opening day that things will work out. The more they are aware of the potential that not everything will go perfect, the easier it will be for them to handle it.

2)   Watch your tone. Expect some moments where you or your kids will reach a level of stress where the wrong tone is used. This is where Big Brain comes in and does not overreact to the tones of others and instead let’s the pressure of the moment pass then deals with the real issue when everyone is calm. Don’t make the tone the issue.

3)   Establish a relationship with the administrators.  Any good administrator knows what parents and kids are going through and should be happy to meet with you and deal with your concerns. Get to know them and keep their number handy.

4)   Don’t overpower you kids with questions like, “So how did everything go today?” or “Tell me what happened at school today.”  These are daunting questions at a time when they are still processing the information themselves. As much as you may want to know everything right now, it may be best to let them tell you what happened in their own time frame instead of trying to pry it out of them.

5)   Get up 5 minutes earlier. The mad rush in front of the school can be frustrating and dangerous. The kids don’t want to be late (even if they are the reason you are running late) and there are likely several hundred vehicles converging on the same area at once. Getting there a little early can take away some crazy moments of fighting for the next open space near the entrance. Many people in their cars could be in Little Brain mode. They are in a hurry, may not have not had their coffee yet, may not have their make-up on, and are quite possibly still in their pajamas and just want to get in and get out.

The stress of getting to school on time is real, and not just another errand. Take time to enjoy the moment and be ready to help others who may have dipped into Little Brain mode.

© 2011 Kevin T. McCarney. All rights reserved.



(for more on this topic, see page 120 in the book)


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