Back to school as stressful as moving house?

Back to school as stressful as moving house?

Back to school season could be one of the most stressful times of the year for parents, with 31% of parents likening it to moving house, new research has revealed.

When it comes to sending their children back to school after the summer, 60% of parents find it a stressful occasion, with men finding it more difficult than women.

Staples commissioned a study looking at the impact of back to school on children and their parents, including worries and spending habits.

Typically, parents spend an average of £185 preparing for their children returning to school, with one in seven (14%) paying upwards of £450 on supplies, with parents of primary school aged children tending to spend more than those with kids in secondary school.

When it comes to preparing for the big day, one in five (21%) leave it to the last few days or less while 12% prepare a week in advance.

The study also discovered the worries parents had when sending their children back to school. The biggest concern for parents was their child being unmotivated about school (41%), followed by being unprepared (38%), behaving badly (36%), and being stressed (35%).

Parents were additionally asked what they think their child’s biggest anxieties were, citing stress as one of the top worries (36%). This was more apparent in those who have primary school aged children (44%) than those who attend secondary school (26%).

Many parents mentioned techniques for getting their child excited about going back to school, with over a third (37%) planning for friends to come over during the holidays and a quarter (26%) letting them decorate their school supplies.

Sharon Tan, Director, Head of Category Management at Staples commented on the findings: “While we knew that back to school can be a testing time for parents, we were surprised to learn that it’s up there with stressful life events like moving house – often considered to be one of the most stressful things someone can do.

“From what we found, this could particularly be down to lack of preparation. Leaving everything until the last minute is going to lead to a lot of rushing around before the beginning of term time. But there are also the natural concerns we found that parents have – worries about their child being unmotivated and stressed at school. It’s great to see that many parents have their own processes to get their kids excited about going back, from special lunches to organising holiday play dates.”