Staci: Just as equally important is Nutrition and reducing screen timeRJ: No matter how old your kids are they can experience first day jitters. Suggestions to help reduce this anxiety:
- A specific ritual may ease the goodbye process. A special hug or shared goodbye phrase may be helpful.
- Leave plenty of time in the morning for breakfast and getting dressed.
- Prepare as much as possible the day before. Discuss lunch choices and what the child plans to wear to avoid Game Day stress.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep.
- Sending your child with a token, such as a family photo, special bracelet or pocket trinket, may do the trick.
- Avoid lengthy emotional goodbyes and keep the routine simple and structured.
Staci: Conquering first day jitters for older kids
Parents should encourage kids to talk to other older children who have been through the experience, taking care to be sure they are children who have had a good experience. Practicing with the lock for their locker ahead of time and getting together with a few friends who will be in the class can also be a benefit.
Parents can share their own stories which may also help children relax and it’s important stress to them that the first day is just the start of a great year rather than a distinct event. It can also help to highlight the privileges the new grade brings, such as special trips or access to the ‘upperclassman’ playground, which can also help ease some of their stress.RJ: Be Aware of over-scheduling your family it can have a negative effect on your relationship with your partner.
It is common for parents to allocate many of the family’s financial resources to their children’s interests and activities. After living- costs and sports and class-related expenses, there isn’t much left for other pursuits. Dates and couples’ time are a thing of the past.
This lack of focus on the couple relationship is a recipe for disaster: Partners who are always on the run are immensely stressed. They are fatigued and ill tempered. They have no patience. Because they are so fatigued and are just keeping up, they can quickly turn to angry exchanges, explosions, distancing, and eventually even dissolution of the relationship.
Staci: The antidote: slow down–literally. Couples need down time and time alone.
Couples’ time is critical for busy parents. Running in circles isn’t good for anyone because it hinders intimacy. Spouses need one on one time to get to know one another–away and apart from how they interact and relate as parents.
So what about all those after school activities? Well-intentioned parents might actually be doing their children a disservice by hindering the development of bonding and by interfering with opportunities for building spontaneous and intimate relationships. What kids really need–more than extra violin lessons or additional private coaching sessions–is family time with parents who are connected and able to relate to their children, and to one another.