Getting ready to head back to school can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. Check out the updated Back to School Mental Health Checklist released by the NLPS on ways you can reduce stress for your whole family at this time of year:
- Get back into a routine. About 1-2 weeks before school starts, gradually(15 minutes each day) move your child’s bedtime and wake up time back to what they will be during the school year. Need tips for helping your child get a good night’s sleep? The My Health Alberta website has some great information.
- Visit some professionals. Doctors, dentists, optometrists, therapists. Make sure everything is up to date!
- Check for changes. Review what’s different from last year. Is your child going to a new school? Does your child have a new bus stop? Be proactive. Walk to the new bus stop, play on the school playground, come for a visit when schools open on August 19, or call to set up a time to meet with members of your school team.
- Get organized. Get a calendar and then print and post school and extracurricular activities so you don’t miss any important dates. All of our schools have online calendars on their websites with information about upcoming school activities.
- Act as a sounding board. Have an open conversation about what is worrying your children and let them know that it’s natural to feel anxious. Try to listen without immediately offering opinions or advice.
- Plan for healthy meals & snacks. Involve your child in the process so they learn how to make healthy food choices. Brainstorm family dinner ideas, or fun lunch options. Your children can help plan, prepare and pack those lunches!
- Schedule child care. Are you a working parent and need before and/or after school care? Plan those arrangements now so everyone knows where they are going and what is happening.
- Show your support.
Show your children that you care and are interested in what they are learning at school, and how the new routines and regulations feel. Encourage them and support them with specific praise rather than general compliments. This will show your children that you appreciate the effort they make at school, and that their work is valued.
- Meet your team! Take time to introduce yourself to teachers, coaches and anyone else who will spend time with your child this year. Let them know the best way to reach you and share any important details about your child. What is your child’s strength? Where do they need extra support?
- Celebrate summer. Have a good time with your family. Plan a few final family activities. Have a board game night, make smores, go for a swim in one of our beautiful local lakes or pools. Go see that movie you didn’t have time to see this summer, take a family bike ride or visit a local attraction like a park or museum. Be together.