Reducing back-to-school stress
Where did the summer go? Seems like we were just celebrating the end of school and now the rush is on for a new school year. As you’re checking your school supply lists, buying new shoes, and meeting teachers, take some time to think through how you want to manage this transition time to reduce stress on both you and your kids.
- Start now to get those late summer bedtimes in line with early school mornings. Kids need to get their sleep. Begin to taper down about a half hour each day to reach a reasonable bedtime. Stick to it. The key to good sleep is regularity. Establish a bedtime ritual to help their minds and bodies know when it’s time to wind down for the day.
- Prepare tomorrow’s clothes the evening before. This time saver will reduce morning stress.
- Put some structure to homework time. A wall calendar and designated homework area and time will help keep everyone a little more organized as the school year gets busy.
- Make sure your kids eat a decent breakfast – even if it’s on the run. Cut out sugars and white processed foods. Kids who eat a wholesome breakfast control their weight better and learn better at school.
- Keep them active – kick them outside for at least 30 minutes for fresh air, sunlight, and exercise.
- Don’t over-schedule your kids with extracurricular, after school activities. This stresses you out as you rush to drive them from activity to activity and they feel overwhelmed without any quiet, free time. A little unstructured time can do wonders for kids.
- Sneak a short note or funny picture in their school or lunch bag. While you’re at it, do the same for your partner or spouse.
- If you can’t be there kids when they come home from school, remember to call them. Research suggests that at least for girls, a phone call is as good as a hug.
- Eat dinner together as often as possible without the television on.