It’s 5 minutes after you were supposed to have left to drop the kids oﬀ at school and they still haven’t brushed their teeth. You’re tempted to leave without the teeth being brushed, but then you realize…you’re already late. What’s another 5 minutes at this point?
You roll your eyes and can feel your blood pressure rising as your voice grows louder for everyone to hurry up. It’s not even 9:00am and you are already stressed to the max.
Sound familiar? It does to many of us after a leisurely summer of relaxed schedules and plenty of play time.
It’s common to have these type of days going back to school. But while every now and then it’s okay, living a hectic back-to-school lifestyle can be harmful to both your health and your kids’.
This year, welcome back school with a less stressful and smoother routine. How?
Here are 5 ways you can make this year an A+!
- Let Kids be Kids.
There are endless activities for kids to be involved in. Sports, the arts, religious and community organizations, etc. all oﬀer our children wonderful opportunities to learn and grow. However, be mindful of how busy kids are in their activities.
How much down time do your kids have? When are they allowed to just be?
Do they have time every day to enjoy the freedom of being a kid?
Although it can feel tempting to fill our kids’ schedules (anyone feel the need to keep up with others?), it’s important for our kids’ stress levels and especially our own that we all have plenty of time to relax, have free play time, and enjoy organically-derived moments.
- Encourage and Teach Independence.
Do you ever feel like you do everything for your kids? While we may feel guilty if we don’t, it doesn’t mean we should.
Teaching our kids how to do things for themselves and help others is a foundation of parenting. The more we take the time to help them become independent in a safe and confident way, the more we can lessen the stress on ourselves.
Start by making a list of small things they can begin to take responsibility for: making their bed, packing their snack, practicing their instrument, etc.
Place the list somewhere they can easily see it each day (their bathroom mirror, lower on the refrigerator, etc.), to remind them of what they can do for themselves.
- Prepare the Night Before.
What becomes stressful in your mornings? Is it the kids picking out their clothes? Is it making breakfast? How about packing lunches?
It can be all of it and more!
Make it a priority to prepare for school the night before by:
– laying out clothes
– organizing backpacks and place by the door
– packing lunches
– setting the table and prepare a breakfast to be quickly served or reheated
Try this right after dinner, before evening activities and/or free-time begins and make sure they help!
- Create a Peaceful Environment.
Too busy to sit down for breakfast? Everyone too starved from the day to talk over dinner? Totally understandable!
Because of our busy lives, we can easily miss out on the enjoyment of slowing down and savoring food, conversation, and each other.
Our recommendation? Take a few minutes to create a calm and peaceful environment that encourages us all to relax!
– turning oﬀ all electronics and placing them out of the room for every meal and after a certain time of night
– having the kids put on calming music while you light candles
– using essential oil diﬀusers for relaxation
– enjoying a family crudite platter on the table before the main meal starts to get everyone to slow down (and enjoy more fruits and vegetables!)
– encouraging evening reading time together with soft music
– picnicking/eating outdoors when the weather is nice
If our kids walk into a house that is too busy to relax they can adhere to that mindset as well. Work as a family to create an environment that works for you and the pace of life you wish to live.
- Enjoy the Outdoors.
Summer is the quintessential time to enjoy the outdoors. Hiking, biking, swimming, and climbing trees are all fun activities that help us unwind and be in the moment. So when school starts back up, being stuck inside most of the day can bring on unwanted stress.
We encourage you to continue to go outside and enjoy the activities you did when school was out as much as possible. Nature is one of the most significant opportunities we have as families to release stress and share memories. Don’t let school stop that!
If the start of school increases your stress level just thinking about it all, take a deep breath and relax. You can still reap the benefits of summer freedom, outside time, and relaxation – just at a diﬀerent level. Talk with your family about what type of lifestyle feels good to them and you and how you can keep that throughout the school year.
If you find that school is still stressful for you and/or your kids and you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, or the Greater Denver Metro area, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to talk about the stress you are feeling and how we can help you and your family.
Welcome back school with open arms and an open heart to make it a less hectic and more peaceful year.