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Younger Parents Stress More During Back-To-School Season

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

It’s about that time. Summer’s lazy-hazy routine comes to an end and mornings are occupied with early risers filling new backpacks with notebooks, pencils and paper. According to a new study, if you’re a parent between the ages of 18-24 you’re stressing a lot more than your older counterpart.

Research commissioned by Sittercity found that younger parents, ages 18-24, reported a much higher degree of stress (86 %) surrounding finding an after school sitter and arranging transportation logistics, than did their older counterparts, ages 35-44 (53 %).

More than half of the parents surveyed reported that finding an after-school sitter and arranging transportation logistics, as the biggest stressors they face during the back to school season (56 %) . These two factors beat out purchasing back to school necessities ranging from clothes to computers, even in this tight economy (42%).

Carbonview Research, using an email invitation and online survey of 2,350 parents, conducted the Sittercity Back-to-School survey.

To help parents beat the stress,, created a how-to guide for finding the perfect back-to-school sitter.

When to Start:  Start looking for a back to school sitter as far in advance as possible before school starts.  This will allow adequate time to identify and screen new candidates, check references and run background checks.  Even better, this will afford you time train your new sitter and make sure your children begin to develop a relationship with her.

What to look for:  Make sure you sitter has the necessary qualifications you need, including experience with specific age groups and safety training like First Aid and CPR.  And since homework will almost certainly be part of the daily routine, look for sitters that are willing and able to be there when the kids need a helping hand. On Sittercity, parents can specifically search for those sitters who have indicated homework help as part of their strengths.

Transportation needs – Helping with transportation logistics is a key part of many after school sitters’ responsibilities. Of the after school jobs posted on Sittercity, 80 % require that the sitter pick up children from school or drop them off.  If you plan on having your sitter help with transportation, confirm the sitter has a valid driver’s license and, if she is using her own car, valid car registration and insurance that is up to date.  And if you are letting the sitter use your car, make sure to add them to your car insurance policy.

Lend a Helping Hand – Another reason to hire your sitter before school starts is so she can help you with another school stressor: getting all the back to school necessities.  At Sittercity, 60 % of the parents who post a job ask that sitters help them in other ways, such as helping to get back to school goods or prepare dinner for the family.

You can find out more about Sittercity at

Other tips for beating back-to-school stress comes from and

- Make sure your children (and yourself) get enough sleep. Not only is sleep necessary for your body, it’s important for your brain, too. Most kids between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours a night, but experts agree that most need 10 or 11 hours each night. Sleep is an individual thing and some kids need more than others.

When your body doesn’t have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. You might have a hard time following directions, or you might have an argument with a friend over something that’s not important. A school assignment that’s normally easy may feel impossible, or you may feel clumsy playing your favorite sport or instrument.

- Eat a healthy breakfast. Research has shown that children who regularly ate breakfast had better standardized test scores, better behavior, and were less hyperactive than children who skipped breakfast.

- Change schedules at least a week before school starts. Start getting your child up, dressed, and fed at the same times as you would on a school day. Both you and your child will benefit from a few practice runs to smooth out trouble spots and get comfortable with the routine.

- Get papers in order. While you’re calling the school, ask what paperwork your child will need to start. Take care of any missing vaccinations or forms ASAP, then gather all the papers in a large, clearly marked envelope or file and photocopy everything.

- Create a calendar and a filing system. A large calendar, that everyone can see and contribute to, can help keep activities manageable. Bins with specific tasks can be  kept nearby, such as “To Be Signed,” “From School,” and “To School,” so your child can deposit papers you need to see in a regular place right after school and pick up things to go “To School” each morning.

Back-to-school is one of those “happy it’s finally here”, and “dreading it at the same time” occasions. But, with a little extra planning and taking care of details – even the youngest parents can help make it a smooth transition.

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