The days are getting shorter, the crisp smells of autumn will soon fill the air and social media feeds are overflowing with photos of kids in their backpacks ready to head back to school. Experts have outlined how parents can best prepare their children for a smooth and successful transition to ease into the new school year.
According to UAB News (published by the University of Alabama, Birmingham), consistency and routines are key to helping kids get off to a good start. Parents are encouraged to maintain a normal daily routine for their children, with the goal of waking up and going to sleep at around the same times each day.
“Children thrive in structured environments and benefit from routines. Creating a predictable schedule for your kids helps them feel safe and teaches them how to regulate their bodies,” Channing Brown, M.D.,stated.
In addition, Brown advocates ensuring that kids get adequate exercise and she sings the praises of a shared family meal on a daily basis. “Movement and exercise not only improve physical health but have been shown to improve academic performance, sleep quality and behavior. Eating one meal a day as a family is associated with a decreased risk of certain mental health conditions such as depression, poor academic performance and substance abuse and is specifically protective against eating disorders in children and teenagers,” she said.
UAB reports that while the return to school can be an exciting time, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety for many children and their families. This is particularly true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an increase in youth mental health diagnoses.
Promoting Mental Health
MedicalXpress reports on guidelines issued by the Mayo Clinic to promote mental health during the back to school period. Parents should maintain a positive attitude and encourage their kids to communicate and share any anxieties or concerns that may arise. Parents should also introduce their kids to stress management and relaxation skills like mindfulness, yoga or meditation to help calm the mind.
Inspiring Affirmations for Kids
Affirmations are mood-boosting statements that encourage positive thinking, confidence and peace of mind. When people repeat the affirmations on an ongoing basis they begin to internalize and believe in them. These words of self-love and motivation help people rise above negative thoughts patterns and navigate life challenges with assurance and grace.
A great way to help kids stay calm is to download Goodnet’s affirmations for kids that boost children’s confidence by helping them develop a more positive mindset while coloring and having fun. Download and print these inspirational affirmations in full color or black and white versions for some mindful coloring and relaxation – perfect for kids (and kids of all ages!) to navigate the return to school while staying calm and happy.