The new school year is quickly approaching us. Back to the routine of getting up early, school assignments, sport activities (which means more driving), early breakfasts, meal planning, and overall more activities.

Oftentimes as parents, we begin to take on a lot of the responsibility for our kids going “back to school." We are overwhelmed by the number of things we need to do in order to have them ready for their upcoming academic year.

This year, start off your routine a little differently than the past. Think about giving some responsibility to your children. If you know that they can do something for themselves, allow them the opportunity to do it. 

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When we jump in too quickly to “rescue” or “enable” we are disabling our children. Set some new rules at the beginning of the school year such as letting them know they are now in charge of setting their alarm clock and getting ready on time for school, they are in charge of homework assignments, as well as keeping a calendar of their sporting events. Our children may be annoyed with our new rules and complain at first, however, within time you will notice a more confident, healthier child.

Many of you may be thinking: “My child would never wake up nor ever get homework done if I’m not there to tell them or remind them.” The more we do this, the more they rely on us and the less confidence they have to be self reliant and responsible individuals. Ask yourself: “Am I doing this to help them or to relieve my own anxiety?”  We will often step in too quickly to control the situation in order to obtain the outcome we want. 

For example: finding out at 10:00 p.m. that your child never completed a project that is due the next day, and completing it for them. This does not allow the child to face the consequences of the project being late nor help us in experiencing our own anxiety.

Yes, it is back to school soon and back to routines. This is an excellent time to start fresh and set new boundaries with our children. Allow them to make their mistakes and learn from them. 

As a parent, it is especially important that you practice self care when the kids return to school. It is easy to dismiss your own needs while managing the family. Self care is not selfish. “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others.”

Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, has a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours. Visit www.hellenictherapy.com or call 908-322-0112.