Say “Bye Bye” to School Day Stress
Fall has begun and with it, back-to-school busyness! While the anticipation of a new academic year can be exciting, it can also be stressful for kids and parents alike. How do we ease back into the routine? Here, Dr. Kristen Race gives us some surefire ways to set a bright and stress-free tone for the new school year.
Set a Sleepy Time – and Keep It!
If your family is like mine, bedtime took a bit of a hit over the summer. To get back into the swing of things, start by shaving 5-10 minutes off your kids’ bedtime each night until you’ve reached a reasonable hour. The National Sleep Foundation suggests preschool-aged children should get 11-14 hours of sleep and school-aged children should get 10-11 hours in a 24-hour period.
Prep the Night Before
Prepare for school with your kids the night before. Filling backpacks, making lunches and picking out clothes in the evening will ease the stress of the morning departure.
Rise and Shine!
Wake up early and give yourself some alone time. Have a cup coffee, check email and cross off a few items on your “to do” list. This way, it’s much easier to be present and engaged with the kiddos when they arise. Trust me, it makes getting out of the house in the mornings much easier!
Establish Morning Rituals
A morning routine is just as important as your family’s evening schedule. Establish some calming rituals like snuggling, reading together, walking or riding a bike to school. A morning routine will help your kids start the day in the right frame of mind.
Steer clear of the screens
I know it’s tough, but mornings are definitely less stressful if you can avoid the screens (TV, smartphones, computers, etc.). Putting the kids in front of the TV or computer screen elicits a stress response in the brain, which could make it more difficult to pay attention, solve problems and control impulses. If you can avoid technology in the morning, you’ll help your kids arrive at school ready to learn.
Just these small changes can make a big difference in your family’s day. Good luck with the Back to School season!
~ By Kristen Race, Ph.D., founder, Mindful Life
About Dr. Kristen Race
Kristen Race, Ph.D., is an expert in child, family and school psychology. She is the founder of Mindful Life, which helps families manage the stresses of modern day parenting. Among her products and services are bi-weekly, free family coaching newsletters as well as activities and advice on topics ranging from boosting self-esteem to games that will keep kids at the dinner table. To learn more about Mindful Life’s services, click here. For more information about Kristen. click here. Dr. Race is mom to two young children.
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