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Avoiding Back To School Blues

As the signs of fall begin to appear, we shift away from summer and towards the start of a new school year. This means establishing a new routine with earlier bedtimes and wake-up times. However, these changes can also bring about added stress and anxiety.

If we start bringing routine into our daily activities in small pieces over the last two weeks of summer it will make a less stressful transition to the first week of school. Start with these ideas and expand them to fit your family's needs.

Bed Time Routine: Start backing up the bedtime routine by 15 minutes each night for a week or two before school starts. In doing this it has the children going to bed at the correct time for the school year and they don't have to go through a considerable time adjustment the first week back to school.

Lunches: Have the children make lunches the last week before school that they would like to take to school. They can help make a list of things they would like in their lunches and also pick out containers that they can use in their lunch bags. It involves the children and gets them thinking about the new school year.

Preparing backpacks: Talk to the children about what they need to carry in their backpacks how to pack their backpacks, and also how to empty and hang up their backpacks at the end of the day. Let them pack their backpacks for a week before school starts, make it a fun event each day. It gives you time to let them work on becoming independent and letting them become responsible for looking after their backpacks and items to care for them at school and home. Some items to suggest for them to pack would be a water bottle, snacks, pencil case, tissues, or wipes. Remember this is a learning opportunity and does not have to be perfect, with some encouragement and positive words the first day of school should go off without an argument.

Communication is key: Set some time each day to talk with your children. We receive a lot of information from the schools, bus lines, caregivers, and daycares. In our busy world, we tend to forget to pass pertinent information to our children that would be key in destressing our children. Give them information that would answer questions that they may have. What time do I have to get up? How am I going to get to school? Where their room will be located in the school and who their teacher will be. Ask them if there are questions they have and if they are worried about anything. Open and honest conversations led by the child will help reduce anxiety.

Self-Care: This is key for parents, caregivers, and children. Eating a healthy breakfast and taking time for exercise or meditation, will help set a positive tone for the day and reduce stress. Gathering for supper after a busy day is a great way to include family time into the daily routine. You can discuss the day's adventures and it also gives everyone an opportunity to destress and know that they are supported and loved.

“When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.”

―Catherine Pulsifer


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