Researchers at Duke University are suggesting that the stress and anxiety of a new school year can be hard on children and that parents can actually help to reduce it. The anticipation of a new school can also be hard on parents with the schedule, running around after-school activities, etc. For children stress can come from the new routine, meeting new people, new teacher and maybe even a new school that is unfamiliar as well as leaving the comfort of the lazy summer schedule. Experts are recommending that parents teach their children mindfulness which is a practice of living in the moment and worrying about upcoming or future events.
The following practices can help children and parents achieve a level of mindfulness. Do it together with your child to ease the stress. 1) Breathing: Take time in the morning and evening to pay attention to breathing for 20 inhales and exhales. Steady breathing has a calming effect on the body. 2) Walking: After dinner, take a walk and pay attention to all the sights, sounds and colors. Encourage children to use this technique on the playground and at school. 3) Listening: At the dinner table, ring a bell or make a sound to capture the family’s attention, then give each person a turn to speak about their day while the rest of the family gives their full attention, to encourage active listening.