Summertime has come to an end and with that comes all of the back to school anxiety and jitters that are common amongst children. Your child may experience common physical effects of anxiety associated with back to school time including symptoms from stomach aches to sleeping problems 🙂
With that said, it important for parents to first remember that these physical and emotional feelings are very common, and even the most well-adjusted kids are bound to feel some sort of pressure when they return to school.
The question becomes: what can parents do to help their children cope with the physical and emotional stresses associated with the back to school season?
We’d like to share some quick tips we gathered over the years and use in Toronto Hapkido Academy children’s Martial Arts curriculum modules; hopefully it may offer some tips that may be helpful in creating a smooth transition for the back-2-school season.
Put your child on a healthy sleeping pattern right away!
Children need at least nine to twelve hours of sleep each night. Children that do not get adequate sleep the night before tend to be groggy, grumpy, and thus have a harder time concentrating in class, not to mention tend to become more sensitive to social disputes.
Sleep also contributes to a healthier immune system.
You can help your child enter each school day with a more energetic and positive approach simply by making sure they get the right amount of sleep each night.
Here’s how to set a healthy sleeping pattern with your children:
Establish a set bedtime and wake time for the Weekdays. Make sure that you specify that this time is non-negotiable.
Set up some rules for 1 hour prior to bed time. There are many things that can affect how well your children sleep at night. If you set up some ground rules, then you’ll see better sleeping habits:
Establish a 20 – 30-minute nightly “calm-down” bedtime routine. The routine should include taking a bath, putting on their pajamas, reading, and other relaxing activities.
TV viewing at bedtime is not recommended because it may affect your child’s ability to fall asleep.
Put your child on a brain-strengthening diet.
Not all diets are for weight loss. Even children that have great athletic physiques are susceptible
to the after-effects of poor eating habits, including fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration, and mood
You can help your children feel better each school day simply by adjusting their diet and
getting rid of foods and snacks that are counter-productive.
Here are some healthy eating tips:
- Purge the bad foods in your house.Open your refrigerator and get rid of the foods you know are unhealthy for your children including sodas, snacks that are high in sugar, and foods that are high in fat.
- Create a healthy menu. Sit down with your child and create a breakfast, lunch,and afternoon snack menu together. Create at least five different healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and snack time and allow them to choose what they want to eat each day.
- If your children help with the process, they will be more intrinsically motivated to stick with the diet.
You can make it fun by having them design a fun menu with their meal options and also have them go to the grocery store and help pick up all of the ingredients.
- Lead by example. If your children see you eating unhealthy foods then you are contradicting what you say. Children are smart, and they will fight you on this subject if you don’t lead by example yourself. On the bright side, this is a great way for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle too!
Make sure your child feels comfortable communicating with you.
Communication is crucial when it comes to all of the challenges your children face each day at school.
It is important for your children to feel comfortable speaking with your about bullies, fears, and anxieties. You can turn any challenge around if you provide your children with the opportunity to do so.
Here are some important tips for helping your child feel comfortable about communication:
- Never ignore your child’s anxieties or stresses. This is a crucial mistake that many parents make, and most of the time it is on accident. Sometimes parents get tangled up with all of their own responsibilities that they brush aside situations brought up by their child that don’t seem important. What you need to remember is: EVERYTHING your child says to you is important to them.
- Ask them about their day to keep an open dialog. Sometimes children hold back sharing their fears and anxieties simply because they don’t want to bother you. By asking them how their day was and if there was anything they wanted to talk about, you are showing them you care.
- Try to put their anxieties and stresses into a perspective that they understand. For example, almost everyone is bullied at one point in life. If your child’s stress is about bullying, share your bullying experience and let them know that you understand how they feel and then provide a simple solution that they can handle.