A new school year promises opportunities for new friends, new lessons and new obstacles to overcome.
Before parents know it, the days will get shorter, the leaves will start to turn, and the school year will kick into high gear. Demanding new classes, rigorous football practices and uncharted social situations present everyday stress for children and parents alike. But, by establishing healthy habits and routines, moms, dads and other caregivers can help kids manage back-to-school stress and thrive throughout the year.
Four key steps to a low-stress school year
Get moving. An hour of exercise every day can help kids gain confidence, maintain a healthy weight, pay attention in the classroom and sleep better.
Sleep. Children ages 5 to 12 need between 10 and 11 hours each night. Skimping on sleep can cause behavioral issues, mood swings and trouble concentrating. To help your child sleep more soundly, establish a regular bedtime and turn off the computer or TV about an hour before she hits the hay.
Vaccinate. When your child gets sick and misses class, it can take days or even weeks to catch up on work and prepare for tests. Vaccines can help protect your child from viruses that cause illnesses such as chickenpox and influenza.
Stay involved. When you pick up your child from school or welcome him home after piano practice, ask questions about his day. Give your child a chance to talk about things that make him happy or situations that are causing worry. Advice, praise and support from a parent can be very comforting to a child and help him develop a sense of self-confidence. As a result, your child is less likely to be intimidated and stressed about challenging situations.