Summer flew by again. Right?
It’s now time to get into the back-to-school groove which means juggling school pick-ups and drop-offs, shuttling the kids to after-school activities, figuring out child care schedules, and more.
It’s enough to cause your head to spin. And that’s before we factor in any additional anxiety that your kids may be experiencing with new classes, teachers and peers. Yup, back-to-school time can be stressful for both kids and parents.
To help you (and your kids) get into the groove of a new school year, take a look at our five top tips for less stress:
1. Set Bedtimes Early On
During the summer, many kids get used to staying up late and sleeping in. But, this all comes to a drastic halt once summer ends.
When it’s time to go back to school, children and teens need a good night’s sleep every night, especially when they have to get up super early. While it is difficult to snap back into this routine immediately, it’s important to set a nightly bedtime and morning routine. This way your kids will get used to the rhythm of a new schedule and get up each morning with energy for the day ahead. Pro tip for parents: you need to get up early too, so get yourself into a night-time routine as well. This includes preparing healthy school lunches in the evening so you don’t find yourself scrambling early in the morning when you are trying to get breakfast ready and your kids out the door.
2. Create a Balance
Kids love spending time with their friends over the summer. While they often need downtime to play with their friends all year long, a little thing called “homework” can get in the way. Even though homework is no fun, it’s important that you encourage your children to get their homework done by enforcing a daily schedule. A good rule of thumb is to have your children sit down to do their homework right after school. If you have a babysitter at home or your child goes to an afterschool program, you can still have them do their homework immediately.
By starting their homework early, they can get it out of the way and have time for other more enjoyable ventures, such as hanging out with friends and extracurricular activities. Additionally, finishing homework at an early hour ensures that they’ll be able to get into bed at a reasonable time.
3. Use Positive Words
Going back to school can induce a lot of stress kids (and parents, too). This is why it’s important to use positive, encouraging words when discussing any changes to your child's routine. Try to encourage your child to discuss his or her day with you. We know this isn’t always easy as kids tend to hold their feelings in.
Pro tip: I always found it easier to talk to my kids while driving in the car. Without a lot of distractions and nowhere else to go, you can use this time to pepper your child with questions about his day or new teachers. You can also use this time to motivate your children about the upcoming school year and encourage them to handle whatever tasks and challenges are thrown their way.
4. Do Your Shopping Early
Shopping for the new school year can be stressful. Chances are you already purchased most everything on your school supply list, yet your children will inevitably need even more school supplies once classes are in full swing.
And, let’s talk about back-to-school clothes for a minute here. Yes, you may have bought your kids some fashionable new clothes on sale. But, I would always wait until the weather began to change before heading back to the stores with my kids in tow. This would give my kids a bit more time to grow (no one likes having to buy new clothes every three months!) and the stores wouldn’t be as crowded.
If you are confident about your kids' sizes, you can even shop online and this will save you the hassle of that trip to the mall. It will also save you money as you won't be tempted to throw more than you need into your shopping cart. Plus, buying last-minute school supplies, books and clothes online with the click of a button is easy and a major time saver.
Believe it or not, yoga can help ease the stress of going back to school - for both adults and kids. Not only does it help relax the body, but it clears the mind, too! For kids, schoolwork and added pressures of homework and peers can often cause anxiety to build up. For you, juggling your own work schedule and home pressures with those of your kids is enough to take its toll.
Here at Pretzel Kids yoga, we recommend taking a little time each day to practice yoga and just breathe. Check out our website for some great tips on starting yoga with your children.
Heading back to school can be a stressful time for everyone. However, it doesn’t have to be. With a bit of preparation and planning, as well as positive thinking and yoga, you and your kids will have an easier transition into the new school year.