Solve back to school blues,
After being out of those plainly-tiled hallways for three months, the back-to-school transition can wield a variety of stressors for both children and parents, alike. The good news? Both anxiety and increased pressure from new schedules, new teachers, challenging workloads and perhaps a new school can be easily managed. Try these simple strategies to foster resilience and positivity throughout the year.
1. Get In A Good Sleep Routine
It’s no secret that lack of sleep has drastic effects on a child’s learning abilities. Inadequate sleep has proven to lower verbal skills, problem solving capabilities and even decrease academic progress for students. This is particularly problematic for teens—it’s estimated 20 to 40 percent of adolescents are sleep-deprived. And parents need good sleep habits, too; nearly 3.3 million Canadians, 15 years and older suffer from a dangerous shortage of sleep. The solution? Set a new sleep routine before school starts. Teens need an average of 8 to 10 hours a night, while younger kids should get closer to 12 hours. Ward off sleep loss by being strict about bedtime and putting a stop to technology use at night.
2. Prioritize Downtime
Good sleep is crucial, but maintaining a few hours to turn off a child’s brain from excitement before bedtime can aid in resting well for a new school day. Listen to an audio book, take advantage of bath time, colour, or even meditation can help kids wind down.
3. Encourage A More Balanced Diet
Eating well and drinking enough water is key to combating stress. According to a study in the Journal of School Health, “students with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and less caloric intake from fat were significantly less likely to fail [a] literacy assessment.” Another study found that eating more fruits and veggies can lead to an improved mood.
4. Prioritize Optimism Instead of Results
For some kids, worry about getting good grades can cause serious anxiety. Reminding them how exciting it will be to see their friends and try new things can help. And, instead of focusing on performance, emphasize the other benefits of learning.
5. Plan Ahead
The start of school is also the beginning of extracurriculars and after-school playdates. Stay organized to avoid over-scheduling. Invest in a large refrigerator calendar that allows your child to participate in the planning and be in the know for all the fun they will be having in upcoming months. Keep in mind: structure is key.
6. Manage Your Own Stress Levels, Too
As the days of September quickly creep upon us, the stress that kids feel can affect parents, as well. It’s important to manage your own anxiety surrounding change and create a new routine that will allow both you and your kids to stay focused, on track, and carefree.