The long days of summer are drawing to a close. The new school semester can bring with it excitement but also some stress for the whole family. Here we give you some tips to help.
Organisation is key: Our minds do not like having unfinished tasks. Much like an app running in the background of a smartphone will drain the battery, having a huge list of unfinished tasks will drain your mental ability to complete tasks . One way to help you focus is to write down what you are going to do and when. Have to buy uniforms? Write that down in the diary for Wednesday. Stocking up on food for school lunches? That’s a task for Sunday. The simple act of planning exactly when you will do something turns off that background fretting leaving your mind clear and focussed .
Give them some control: Feeling in control of your life is a big predictor of health and happiness . Children and teens don’t have much control over the big things but you can give them control over the small things. Let them choose what pencil case they want for the year or what healthy lunch they want on the first day back. This will make them excited about using their new things, and therefore about going to school, as well as giving them a stress-busting sense of control over a big change in their lives.
Adjust to regular bedtimes: Sleep is important for everyone but it is particularly crucial for children and teens. Sleep disruption is more damaging for children and teens than for adults. Children under 12 need as much as 10-12 hours of sleep per night and teenagers need 8-9 hours to be able to concentrate at school and to help their brains develop  (See our earlier blog on tips to help sleep). Start earlier bedtimes a few days before they go back to school to help children adjust to a new schedule after a summer of freedom. This will avoid sleepy tears (both yours and theirs!) on the first day back and help them to enjoy their first day of a new school term.
Children are very attune to emotions and can pick up on your stresses and anxieties without you realising so don’t forget to look after yourself as well. Take some time out to relax and enjoy the last days of summer as you prepare for the new school term.
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