4 Ways to Help Kids Find a Better School-Life Balance This Year
Now that school is back in full swing in Brevard County, the carefree days of summer vacation are behind us, along with the easy going feeling that accompanies it. With a full schedule, extracurriculars, worries about fitting in with new social groups, athletics, and academic pressure, teaching kids about finding balance can feel like one more thing to fit into an already jam-packed schedule.
It can be tough for kids to understand the need for finding balance in life, but it’s a necessary skill for managing stress. What good are perfect test scores and a first chair rank in orchestra if, in the process of achieving their goals, children miss out on the innocent simplicity of being a kid?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few tips to help children better manage their time, energy and expectations not only for the school year ahead, but for the rest of their lives.
Routine. Routine. Routine
A healthy routine starts as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, and this is no different for our kids. Studies show that children who wake up at the same time each day and adhere to a normal routine not only perform better in school, but overall, are better at managing daily pressures, when compared to students following no schedule. Finding the right times for bedtime and waking can take a bit of fine-tuning, and that’s ok. Remember, just as every family is different, so too is every child.
One of the biggest things we can do for our children is to observe their behavior and make a note of any significant changes. As parents, when we acknowledge issues before they get the chance to bubble over, we are able to offer advice and guidance. This is especially true when dealing with stressors. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress for kids. Family fitness doesn’t need to be a big production, involve a gym or require fancy equipment. Heading out for a family bike ride, walking the dog, playing tag, or even playing on the playground (yes, you too) all count as exercise. Squeezing in as little as 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week together can play a role in how your kids handle and manage stress.
Encourage independent exploration
Create dedicated “pockets” of time throughout the week for creative exploration. Find an area of interest your child expresses a curiosity for and allow them time to explore that subject on their own terms. By allowing our kids to surf the web during creative exploration, we are instilling in them the idea that research isn’t always about school or grades. Research is a valuable tool in every walk of life.
Teach the value of the word “no”
This may seem like it might throw a wrench in the machinery, but teaching your children when and why it is appropriate to say no can be an amazing thing. An overbooked social calendar can be just as hard on a child’s emotional well-being as a non existent one. By teaching our children to say “no,” we are instilling in them the value of ownership, and teaching them how to prioritize.
One of our biggest priorities here at Viera Pediatrics are the relationships we cultivate with our patients and their families. Since opening the doors of our Viera practice, we’ve worked to connect and build trust with our community, and are committed to providing a resource -- both online and in person -- for the Brevard County families we serve. We love being a part of your family and hope to use these blogs as a safe space to discuss real family issues.
If your child is struggling with managing day-to-day or situational stress, the Center for Child Stress & Health at Florida State University has a website filled with resources for families.
Here’s the link.