From Pool to School

Three ways to prep for success as kids head back to the classroom

Picture this: It’s 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday in late July, the AC has been cranked to full-blast for over a month, the kids are still sleeping, and absolutely no one has alarm clocks, bus stops or test prep on their mind.

Too often, we toss preparation out the window in the weeks leading up to school, resulting in a rude awakening that first morning back. The back-to-school season can mess with our minds, bodies and brains, so it’s important to prioritize each in the weeks leading up to that fateful first 6:00 a.m. alarm. So, we’ve consulted with local health experts to get their tips and tricks for curbing schooltime stress in your household. 

  1. “Establish a Routine” - Dr. Janet Lund & Ally Bernstein, Archer Behavioral Health 

“Fostering a safe and open environment for your child to express themselves is crucial.” - Ally Bernstein 

According to the Archer Behavioral Health team, introducing routines before school starts is the key to school readiness. Get your child excited about creating practical morning and nighttime routines. Let them pick out their clothes, choose how they complete tasks, set their alarms and then practice it for a few weeks. 

Not only does this give time to get acclimated, but it encourages problem-solving skills and boosts confidence. Giving your child the responsibility of creating a routine can turn dreaded school mornings into a fun, exciting challenge. “By actively involving your child in the development of routines, you empower them to take ownership and, as a result, minimize potential resistance,” explains Ally. 

  1. “Talk About It” - Amy Head, New Perspectives for Life

“Creating strategies ahead of time will help children and parents feel empowered and prepared to manage all of the transitions that come with going back to school!” - Amy  

It sounds simple, but creating and talking through a simple pro/con (or excited/nervous) list can help tremendously. Amy recommends ranking each item from most to least nervous/excited and then brainstorming some ideas to ease the stress of the child’s top two nervous items. They get their thoughts out on paper and realize that plenty of exciting things come with school too! 

Implementing strategies like pro/con lists for worries is also empowering and useful lifelong. It teaches kids that it’s possible to break down what may feel like one big worry into smaller, more manageable ones. 

  1. “Be Active!” - Julie Sandidge, Club Pilates

“Exercise releases endorphins which help to elevate our mood.” - Julie Sandidge 

Early wake-up times, workload and long days can cause parents and kids to start dragging just days into the school year, but getting your heart rate up and your blood flowing with a quick morning exercise can reduce fatigue when adjusting to a new routine.

“Exercise that includes a mind-body connection such as Pilates is even better as it helps us get out of our heads and focus on our bodies,” says Julie. 

The best way to reap these benefits (and continue to reap them) is consistency. Hold yourself (and your kids) accountable by getting workout buddies or signing up for classes like Pilates and see how energized you start to feel!

“Fostering a safe and open environment for your child to express themselves is crucial.” - Ally Bernstein 

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