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Seven Tips for Beating Back-to-school Stress
International Coach Federation International Coach Federation
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Lexington , KY
Thursday, August 29, 2013


August 29, 2013


ICF HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Abby Tripp Heverin, +1.859.219.3529, Abby.heverin@coachfederation.org

LIFE JUNCTIONS CONTACT:Rachel Winefsky, +1.212.390.1923, Rachel@winefsky.com

Seven Tips for Beating Back-to-school Stress
International Coach Federation Associate Certified Coach offers seven back-to-school tips for busy families.

Lexington, Kentucky, USA?Whether you?re preparing to drop your firstborn off at kindergarten or packing lunches for a pair of preteens for whom school is old hat, a new school year can amp up stress levels for parents and kids alike.

?Whether your child is going back to the same school or starting at a new one, back-to-school season is a time of both newness and transition,? says Stacy S. Kim, Ph.D., an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach and the founder of Life Junctions LLC, a Career and Life Coaching practice that specializes in helping high-achieving women and parents achieve balance in their families and their professional lives.

As students and their parents shift from summer routines into ?back-to-work? mode, it?s not unusual to feel excited, nervous or even overwhelmed. However, Kim says that there are several small steps parents can take to minimize the toll of back-to-school stress.

1. Schedule downtime. Adjusting to a new routine, new teachers and interactions with new (and old) friends can leave kids and parents feeling run-down. ?Parents always seem to be surprised by how exhausted they are when children start school again,? Kim says. By incorporating?and enforcing?rest in the form of earlier bedtimes, set times for play or designated technology-free times, you can recharge your batteries and help your kids do the same. ?Don?t be afraid to let your children get a little bored,? Kim adds. ?You don?t have to fill every moment with either work or play.?

2. Acknowledge anxieties. Many parents tend to deny, dismiss or diminish their children?s back-to-school anxieties, Kim says. ?Parents are eager to make things smooth for their children. This is why expressions like, ?Don?t be nervous,? or ?You have nothing to worry about,? are familiar in many households.? Instead, Kim suggests taking a ?coach approach? to kids? concerns. ?Sometimes, it?s more helpful to make an observation or ask a powerful question to invite further conversation. For example, ?I can see you?re having trouble deciding what to wear. You want to make a good impression, don?t you???

3. Be positive. ?Any negativity parents feel about school, administrators or teachers should be kept to adults-only conversations,? Kim says. ?Children pick up on their parents? negativity.?

4. Keep routines simple. ?Getting out the door in the mornings never goes as smoothly as we would like,? Kim says. ?Instead of trying to make everything go perfectly, focus on the important things and keep your reminders short, simple and consistent: ?Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Backpack and shoes on.? This can help minimize?although probably not eliminate?arguments and delays.?

5. Focus on growth and learning?not grades. ?Research shows that when children focus on the learning process as opposed to outcomes (i.e., grades or getting the right answer), they are likely to be more resilient, try harder and enjoy learning more,? Kim says. She recommends that parents replace vague or outcome-based praise (?Good job? or ?You?re so smart?) with feedback praising effort (?I can see you really worked hard,? or ?You tried a different strategy and figured it out!?).

6. Discourage multitasking. ?Both children and parents believe it?s better to do more than one thing at a time, but multitasking actually decreases your ability to be focused and productive,? Kim says. To beat the temptation to multi-task, she encourages her coaching clients to employ a kitchen timer. ?Set the timer for 20 minutes and ask yourself, ?What is the right thing for me to do right now?? Be truthful in your answer. Sometimes, the right thing is to take a break or a walk. At other times, it might be to fold laundry, clean out your email or draft just one paragraph of the report you?ve put off writing.? The timer exercise can also be modified for young children, Kim says. ?Offer them a choice between two small tasks?working on math homework or studying spelling, for example?and set the timer for 10 minutes instead of 20,? she suggests. ?This exercise helps you and your children focus, break down large tasks into manageable chunks and use time more intentionally.?

7. Tackle your next project. ?For many parents, sending children back to school frees up more time for themselves,? Kim says. ?If you want to use this free time to start something new, it?s best to start small.? She advises tackling one project at a time and taking one step at a time toward accomplishing it. ?If your project is to clean out the garage, your very first action might be to get a garbage bag. If your project is to find a job, your first step might be, ?Find Jill?s number and ask her to coffee to discuss how she found her job.??

For busy parents whose goals for the new school year include improving time management, communicating more effectively with their partners and children, or accomplishing a significant personal or professional endeavor, working with an ICF-Credentialed coach can be a powerful first step toward success. If you believe that professional coaching is the right fit for you, begin your search with the ICF?s Coach Referral Service (CRS), a free, searchable directory of ICF Credential holders at Coachfederation.org/findacoach. Coaches who hold ICF Credentials have met stringent requirements for education and experience, and they have demonstrated a strong commitment to ethical behavior, ongoing professional development and excellence in coaching.

The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with more than 19,000 members and 10,000 credentialed coaches in more than 100 countries worldwide. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. For more information, please visit our website at www.coachfederation.org.

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Group: International Coach Federation
Dateline: Lexington, KY United States
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