Everything you need to know to tackle back to school anxiety, lunches, sleep habits, health and after-school activities.
Getting everything done to prepare your child for going back to school can seem like a marathon. It can be both logistically challenging and physically exhausting for parents. This year, simplify your to-do list by going back to basics. Hunting for matching pencil cases and this year’s trendy sneakers can wait.
What’s really important to prepare your child for success at school is to make sure they are as healthy as possible when they sit down to learn. That means ensuring they are eating and sleeping well and are able to recharge after school in a healthy way to prepare for the next day.
It also means paying close attention to their mental health, and helping them cope with any back-to-school anxiety. And it includes taking preventative measures like immunization to ensure they are protected from any communicable diseases circulating in their classrooms.
We’ve got the tools you need to ace this year’s back to school race. So take a deep breath and focus on the finish line.
Coping with transitions: For some children, going back to school can spark anxiety. New schools, new teachers and classmates, and new expectations and routines are a lot to adjust to. Help your child cope with these transitions by paying attention to your child’s mental health at this busy and often stressful time. Here are 15 ways you can help ease their minds.
School avoidance: Is your child so worried about school that they pretend to be sick to avoid it? Parents share with us their experiences and how they learned to support their children. Learn what’s really behind these school avoidance behaviours and read about how to help your child work through their fears and look forward to going to class. Read What if no one likes me mom.
Tot troubles: Anxiety can also be a factor in very young children’s behaviour, starting with separation anxiety in toddlers. How do you help your very young child cope with anxiety this fall, as they may head to daycare or pre-school classes for the first time? We’ve got simplified approaches and language to help you support your younger children to manage their emotions. Read Teaching young children how to manage anxiety.
See infographic below for 5 free apps help cope with back to school anxiety.
Eating and nutrition
Lunchbox toolbox: kindergarten edition: Lunches for your littlest ones don’t need to be complicated to be healthy and tasty. Learn more about easy to make and eat lunchtime ideas perfect for little fingers and growing bodies.
Lunches kids actually eat: Packing a healthy school lunch is key for giving your child a healthy energy boost during their school day. But many parents face the frustration of seeing their lovingly-prepared school lunches come back half-eaten. We’ve got tips for how to get nutrition into your kids when they’re not keen on school lunches. Plus, check out 40 fresh, kid-friendly lunch ideas.
Meals that matter: Wondering what to make your kids for breakfast on school mornings? Are your kids getting bored of the same old after-school snacks? Learn about the benefits of breakfast for children and find some quick healthy ideas for new meals and snacks.
Kids in the kitchen: Kids take pride and interest in things they make themselves. Encourage them to help pack their own lunches, with your guidance. But why stop there? Teaching your kids how to cook healthy meals is a life long skill that few students receive in school. So include them in school night dinner prep too. Here are some easy ideas to get pre-school and school-age kids involved in serving up suppers.
Better sleep means better learning: Sleep is your child’s secret weapon to school success. Good quality sleep enhances learning, helping your child concentrate better, remember more and maintain good behaviour. But how do you get your kids to bed at a reasonable hour on a school night to set them up for the morning? It all starts with their sleep habits. Learn what to watch for and how to help them catch more zzzs.
Healthy sleep habits: A good night’s sleep is the foundation for your child’s health, wellness and development. You can help them by ensuring they keep to regular bedtimes, by helping them unwind, and by creating a safe soothing space for sleep. Check out these top 10 tips for sleep success in your school-aged children.
Sleep tips for younger kids: Do you have school-aged and younger tots in the house? Get an early start on establishing good sleep hygiene with your toddlers to help ensure they’re good sleepers when it comes time for their first day at pre-school or kindergarten. Here’s a guide to good sleep for 6-24 month old children that addresses common myths and shares tips on how to soothe young ones to sleep, transition from cribs to beds and recognize sleep cues.
Shots for back to school: Is it time to put immunizations on your children’s back to school list? Children between four and six-years-old should have up-to-date booster shots to protect against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, chicken pox and whooping cough. Another set of vaccinations are due in Grades 6 and 9. By ensuring your child is immunized, not only are you protecting their health but those in the community as well. We’ve got some tools here to help you manage and schedule your family’s immunizations.
The super powers of shots: An easy way to explain the value of immunizations to kids shy of needles is to explain that these shots give them super powered protection against germs. One public health nurse shares how she uses stories like these to calm her children’s fears. Read her tips here and download a free copy of the children’s book she’s written on the topic, titled, Tommy’s Force Field.
The anti-vax effect: What effect does the decision not to immunize your children have on your community? Hear what one parent has to say about the power of herd immunity and how his perspective on immunizations changed the minute he had children of his own. Learn more about the safety of vaccines and how they can protect you and your children, the people you care about, and vulnerable members of your community from serious diseases.
Free-range play: During the school year, children are challenged all day during class. In the evenings and on weekends, they need some downtime to recharge. One of the best ways to refresh your children is to encourage free-form healthy active outdoor play. Read how one parent learned to embrace a form of free-range parenting to help her children flourish.
Unplugged afterschool activities: After a long day at school, many kids want to come home and unwind in front of a screen. But we’ve all heard how too much screen time can negatively-impact our children’s health. So here are some options for easy after-school and weekend crafts, sports and activity ideas, straight from kids themselves.
Family fun: Physical activity is the key to keeping your kids on the path of health for life. But it can be hard to fit in healthy family living during the busy school year. For inspiration to carry you through here’s the story of one Chilliwack family who overhauled their health and made getting outside and active – even on school days – a family affair.
Check out Fraser Health’s website for everything you need to know about school health at Fraserhealth.ca/health-info/health-topics/school-health.
5 free apps to help cope with back to school anxiety