STRIKE THE RIGHT BALANCE TO SET YOUR KIDS UP FOR SUCCESS.
SAYING GOODBYE TO the long, lazy days of summer can be hard for your kids and teenagers.
“For lots of kids, transitioning from laid-back summer schedules to fast-paced school days can cause increased anxiety due to anticipated fears of what’s to come,” says Kelly Lauscher, Educator for HSHS Sacred Heart and
St. Joseph’s 3D Community Health and The Healing Place. “But constant and chronic stress can be unhealthy at any age, causing issues such as difficulty concentrating, headaches, and upset stomachs. So
managing those anxieties properly is critical.”
THE VALUE OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Managing schedules properly can effectively help reduce stress during the school year. Work with your child or teen to make choices about activities, taking care to prioritize what is most important.
Ask yourself, if my child plays soccer and takes ballet, will she have time to keep up with algebra? If my son commits to being quarterback of the football team and serving as student council president, will he have energy to apply to colleges and unwind with his friends?
“Teaching good time management is key,” Lauscher says. “Overbooking activities and sports can lead to increased burnout and injuries.”
Practical time management practices can include:
• Establishing a designated homework space in your home and keeping it free from clutter to help your child or teen concentrate and get through homework efficiently.
• Making to-do lists to help avoid procrastination.
• Packing lunches and picking out school clothes the night before.
• Completing homework before watching television or logging on to social media.
Also, remember that your kids are watching you for clues and tips on how to live life, so take your own advice, try not to overbook yourself, and encourage healthy habits for the whole family to follow.
“Never underestimate the power of a great night’s sleep, drinking plenty of water, exercising and receiving proper nutrition,” Lauscher says. “Back to the basics, as my mom used to say.”
If your child is showing evidence of anxiety or stress as the school year begins, take time to practice mindfulness together. A few techniques to try are:
• Sit and breathe. Place one hand on the chest and one hand on the stomach, noticing the breath as it moves through the body.
• Move with awareness. Take a walk or a bike ride, observe the way your body feels, and pay attention to the sights and sounds that surround you.
• Meditate before bed. Sit or recline quietly while listening to calming music or a guided meditation.