School -- It's Coming!!!
The easy days of summer are so great for kids. Schedules can be relaxed, they can go to bed late, get up late, eat a leisurely breakfast, play outside all day, and pressures of school can melt away. But lurking out there is the first day of school, back to schedules and routines. Here are some tips that can help reduce the stress and anxiety of starting school again.
First of all, it helps when kids are getting enough sleep. The latest sleep research is showing that when people do not get enough sleep they tend to be irritable, have difficulty concentrating, can show signs of depression, crave high calorie carbohydrates, and gain weight. So here are a few tips to get your child into a routine of a good night’s sleep, even if bedtime arrives before the sun sets. First, turn off electronics, e.g. T.V., video games, loud music, etc. Then make a bedtime routine that starts about 30 to 40 minutes before you want your child in bed. Routines that are effective are as follows: shower or bath, a small protein, low sugar snack (milk, yogurt, granola bar, peanut butter sandwich), a calm bedtime story (read to your child, even if they are old enough to read because the sound of the human voice is relaxing), then lights out. For children who have difficulty getting calm, try using the scent of lavender. You can get spray that can be sprayed on their pillow, or try using lavender scented bath soap or bubble bath. Another relaxing tip, make your child’s room calm. This can be done by using neutral, relaxing colors and have it organized. A bright, cluttered room can be over stimulating.
The second tip for reducing stress is to have a daily routine. Start by getting your children up early gradually. This will help their brains adjust to the early morning routine of school. Then schedule their day. For example, the routine can be scheduled around meal times. Activities and even free time can be scheduled in the morning, afternoon, and early evening. If your children are old enough, they can help write out the schedule. I have found that when kids help, they are more compliant.
Try to include special projects that require use of reading, writing, and math. However, make them fun. It could be things like putting on a play with neighborhood friends, helping bake a cake, canning garden vegetables, helping prepare meals that requires following a recipe, or hand projects such as building a bird house, knitting, or embroidery.
I hope these tips help reduce some of the stress of starting school. There will be more tips in September. If you have questions or suggestions for tips, please e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading my tips,
Jan Eggiman, RN,MS, LMFT