Five Stress-Relief Tactics for the School Year
This social-distanced summer taught all of us to welcome the unprecedented with open arms. Now, as the 2020-2021 school year begins, it brings with it another layer of COVID-related tension. If this year’s back-to-school to-do list is starting to feel like the straw that could break the camel’s back, you’re not alone! We put together some quick and simple stress-relieving tips to help you ease into another (albeit very different) year of learning.
Give your noggin some time off!
It can be difficult for your child to focus their energy on their schoolwork all day long, especially at home! Every 30 minutes to an hour, encourage him/her to take a mental break: get up and move around, have a dance party or make a quick snack together. Try whatever gets your child out of their chair and gets the blood pumping for a few minutes every hour!
Encourage a healthy sleep schedule
Lack of sleep is proven to increase stress in children and adults, so make sure the kids are clocking in those zzz’s every night! Remember that younger and more active children require even more sleep than teenagers, who already require more sleep than adults. Discourage screen time before bed and set consistent bedtimes and morning alarms.
Play with pets
If you have a family pet, they’ve most likely gotten used to the whole family being home for the last few months. Since you and Fido have become better buddies, you may also have noticed a drop in stress levels, which studies show come naturally with pet interaction! Make sure you and the children in your care save some time to play with, snuggle and walk the family pet, especially when you can tell certain family members are feeling the strain of school.
When life gets a little overwhelming, sometimes we just need to close our eyes and take a little mental reset. For a breathing exercise, walk your child through these simple steps: have them breathe in for five seconds, hold their breath for another five and then breathe out of their nose for five more. Repeat as often as necessary, and do it with them to normalize de-stressing together!
Be open and honest
Clear communication is important in any relationship, but especially in the family and in the home! Encourage the kids to put their feelings into words: the good, the bad and anything in between. Not only will this help your children express themselves clearly now, it will set them up for greater emotional maturity in the future. Don’t forget to set the example for your household, as well — be an effective communicator and your family will follow suit!
Though the mere mention of returning to school may cause a rise in blood pressure, there’s no need to let that increase tension in your home! No matter what your children’s school year looks like, we hope these five tips help you destress, relax and enjoy this new season of life with an open heart.