Back to school can be back to stressful days for many of us. As we adjust to juggling the new schedules, inevitably some challenges present themselves. These challenges can be great opportunities to teach our children some good habits and life skills. Start small and implement a few of these strategies to create more calm in your house.
Decide together on a predictable morning and evening schedule. Plan for time to get going and to wind down. Try to build in an extra ten or fifteen minutes on each end to be more responsive and less reactive to your day. Feeling the pressure of too little time can often invite anxious feelings. Asking your children what is next on their routine, instead of telling them what to do teaches them to take responsibility for their time management.
Plan for good sleep by calming down all their systems before bed. If possible, turn off all screens one hour before sleep. A hot bath or shower will calm tense muscles and induce relaxation to go off to bed settled.
Try and create an evening ritual with your child. This can include snuggle time, rubbing lavender lotion on hands and feet, coloring a picture together, reading a story or a chapter from a book together. If your children are older, create a special journal to exchange that includes encouraging notes about circumstances they have overcome.
Talk it all out. Set the tone of listening rather than lecturing. Allow yourself to be fully present and listen to their day without correcting or judging.
Play games to relax and practice deep breathing with bubbles. It’s easy to create a play list of calm music. While you are listening to it together, practice contracting and releasing different muscles starting with your hands and feet.
Above all, teach them that when they are feeling overwhelmed that tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities. Help them to trust themselves to manage whatever happens by repeating positive self talk like “I’ve got this!” or “This will pass.” Read together positive and calming phrases. Select ones to say often and post in your home. Teaching your children about setting intentions and reframing negative thoughts will fuel optimism.