1. Prepare ahead every day.
Everyone feels some nervousness when they are running late, don’t have the right materials, or aren’t sure what to expect so being prepared is vital to help reduce stress. Help your child feel comfortable by teaching them to prepare the night before for what they need – clothes, lunch, and a ready backpack. Having everything thing in place ahead of time will help your child with anxiety, symptoms of stomach aches, headaches and/or worried thoughts and it’s a simple routine to establish.
Ask how your child is feeling about school, friendships and themselves by having discussions around fears, concerns, and worries along with the joys in their life. Feeling comfortable with discussing and expressing emotions is vital to self-awareness and self-expression. Having these conversations regularly helps children know you are there for them and available to discuss their concerns, worries and joys throughout the year. As well, it enables you, as a parent or caregiver, to be the “safe haven” for your child to go to when in distress and to know you are there for him or her no matter what the issues are.
3. Teach holistic coping techniques.
Being a bit nervous or uncomfortable during the start of the school year is normal. Helping your child find tools and techniques that will help them calm down if they feel this way during the day can really help empower them. Self-soothing techniques such as deep breathing (i.e. box breath) , yoga poses for stress reduction, coloring mandalas or mindfulness techniques will teach them that they are strong, capable, and able to problem-solve. Using holistic practices help create a mind-body-spirit connection that can provide life-long self-awareness, attunement and relaxation skills.
4. Eat well-rounded, nutritious meals to help support their bodies and brains.
Most of us understand the importance of eating a well-balanced meal high in vegetables, fruits, protein and good fats. However, when under stress, people can tend to eat foods that are easy to grab (protein bars, chips, pretzels and/or candy) and not focus on eating healthy. Providing snacks that are nutritious, such as nuts, cucumbers, or string cheese will go a long way to helping them choose wisely. Here’s a nice list of healthy after-school snacks.
5. Sign your child or teen up for a support group that focuses on integrative and holistic stress management experiences.
At Lotus Point Wellness we offer yoga classes, preventative support groups, such as Calming Butterflies, Zen Zone or Power Up! – a Leadership Group for 5th graders and groups for kids already experiencing stress, anxiety, and/or sadness. Our groups also add Yoga for an additional integration of mind-body and relaxation/meditation experiences. We also offer a number of yoga classes aimed at children and teens who could benefit from learning meditation and relaxation skills. Groups provide a safe space for kids or teens to process their experiences with peers, learn new coping skills and realize they are not alone.