As strange as it sounds, soon thousands of 3 and 4-year-olds in West Michigan will begin their educational careers. Usually starting school is a happy and enjoyable time of life, but for some local youth that's not the case.
Adults aren't the only ones who experience stress. When parents have stress in their daily lives, that stress can be passed on to their children. Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, a non-profit that strives to help children succeed, says parents need to prepare for the back-to-school season by taking care of themselves.
Dr. Nkechy Ezeh shares proactive steps parents can take to reduce the back-to-school stress in the home.
Get enough sleep, eat nutritious foods and exercise. These are very important for good mental health. Remember that the best way to teach children self-care strategies is to let them see you do it.
Create a Culture of Accountability
Share your self-care plan with your family. Ask your children (if you have children ages 4 and up) or your partner to hold you accountable to it. Ask them to remind you when you are not sticking to your plan. Once you are used to your plan, then you bring on the entire family.
Revisit your own schedule and decide what`s important. Take time to map out your schedule. Reduce unnecessary things on your daily to-do list. Ask your self do I really need to do this? How will it affect me and family positively or negatively? Build in time for your self-care.
Cook for the week on the weekend, organize your week`s work clothes, pack your work bag and lunch at night before you go to bed. The goal here is to avoid running around in the morning looking for things.
Set Realistic Expectations
Remind yourself that you cannot do it all. Let go of some things and focus on the most important things. Don`t feel guilty!!
To learn more about Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, visit elncgr.org.