Parents blamed for pre-school stress

In many communities across the United States, the first day of school is usually the day after the Labor Day weekend. (image credit) As (some) parents rejoice and (some) kids dread the start of another school year, there is new research data being released stating that parents cause kids more stress when starting school.

Before all the parents who read my blog start to throw things at me, I'm just reporting a news story here (smile). This study is from the UK and courtesy of icWales. The study looked at kids who are starting school for the first time.

Scientists measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in children two weeks after they had started primary school and then again six months later. They also took cortisol measurements three to six months before the children started school to provide baseline levels for comparison.

The researchers said they were surprised to find that, far from providing a baseline, children’s cortisol levels were already high several months before the start of the school term.

High rates of the hormone can even make children more susceptible to colds and other minor illnesses.

Dr Julie Turner-Cobb, from Bath University, who led the research, said, “This suggests that stress levels in anticipation of starting school begin to rise much earlier than we expected.”

Dr Turner-Cobb said it was unclear why pre-school children would become anxious so far in advance, but suggested that parents were getting stressed about their children starting school and were passing those fears onto their children.

The article goes on to talk about how things were easier when they had an older sibling who already went through the "starting school" process. The article also talks about how the first day of school can also be tough on parents.

Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to make some of these assumptions. But, I thought the cortisol data was interesting. Any thoughts out there on the stress level of kids and parents when it comes to the first day of school?