It's safe to say, that if my Facebook feed is anything to go by, then the entire western hemisphere is back in school. Yes, summer has ended, and a new school year full of joyous wonder begins. Toddlers, Children, and Teens alike are donning their new, shiny, emblazoned attire and posing for the obligatory '1st Day of [insert grade/year]' photo. As parents it can all be a tad emotional. Having just gotten used to the idea of having the littles around almost 24/7, like a rug being swept out from underneath, the world as you've come to know it flips upside down once again. For others, it's a welcome relief. No more daycare or babysitters to organize, and no more running around to programs, camps and clubs. A sense of normalcy can resume, and hey...I get you!
So what now? Well, being a good mummy, daddy, or guardian to your angels, now is the time to look ahead and foresee some of the common challenges that may arise, and how to become a jedi parent ninja safeguarding their wellbeing.
Okay, I'm getting carried away, but let me share with you a few areas of opportunity this school year as you look to create the best environment possible for all to flourish. Here's 'You're Guide To A Happy & Healthy Year':
The transition from summer holidays to back-to-school brings one absolute foundation; establish a routine. As a best practice, it is important to set out and stick to a routine that works. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Getting enough sleep. Ensuring there is enough time in the morning for a good breakfast and to get to school. Scheduling in homework and study time, activity time, clubs, lessons or groups that may have started back up. Having bath/shower night(s), making sure clothes are set out at night and the schoolbag is packed before bed. Why is this important? Because 1) Things that get scheduled, get done - and 2) Routine forms habit, and habits become automatic - meaning less energy and brainpower being used, plus more time saved.
Yes I just mentioned it but I'll say it again...eat breakfast! Time and time again I've been reminded of this over the years, and I'm guessing most of you have too. It's the most important meal of the day as after a long sleep, the body needs to refuel and energize for the day ahead. An anecdote that was once shared with me resonated. It goes, 'eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper'. In all honesty, my mindset over the years was the opposite but theoretically it makes sense. Place an importance of this meal in your household and be an example. A good, healthy, bountiful breakfast can boost metabolism, curb mid-morning hunger, energize the body and stimulate the mind.
Another clever idea is to pack the schoolbag with an 'SOS Kit' for any minor emergencies. Items such as plasters/band-aids, wet wipes, a packet of tissues, lip balm, spare hair clips, nail file, tweezers, female sanitary pads/tampons (if closer to teen age). Keep it small, and tailor to each child's age and needs. It provides a peace of mind and places an element of responsibility on the child also.
At the start of each year, get to know and connect with teachers to understand the topics that are being covered throughout the year. This way you can stay actively engaged, interested, and slightly ahead. Knowing what project or topic that's being taught means you can cleverly incorporate trips to the library for supplemental bedtime story reading, or even taking a trip. Watch a family movie, play games, or find any other creative idea that includes the curricular focus to deepen learning and and encourage family bonding.
The school year no doubt has it's ups and downs, highs and lows. But how do you prepare for such a mountainous terrain of emotions? The key is in the preparation. What I mean is that, although we can't be right all the time (who the heck knows with teenagers!), we can certainly identify triggers and lulls that can affect mood management. A great way to positively affect mood and emotions is the use of essential oils. Diffusing oils can create an calming, grounding, uplifting, or energizing environment. Our typical triggers and routines include diffusing dōTERRA Wild Orange and Peppermint in the morning for energy and focus. A real morning get-up-and-go sort of feel! During the afternoon lull when our kids get a little grumpy, we diffuse dōTERRA balance which is a calming and grounding oil to ward off and avoid any unnecessary tantrums. Essential oils travel through the nasal cavity to the brain where mood and emotions are regulated providing a fairly quick response. They can be used to improve focus and concentration for study or homework, to help calm and unwind after a long stressful day, assist in a good nights sleep, and tackling the associated feelings of S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If you use oils you'll know exactly what I mean (Amen!!). They've been an absolute gamechanger!
The final piece of the puzzle to a seamless school year is avoiding the inevitable. Cold, Flu, Sniffles, Sickness Bug, Lice, Mono, are a parents worst nightmare. One, you don't want your kids to catch it. Two, YOU don't want to catch it. And Three, off school, off work, sick days, ahhhhh!!!! So believe it or not, although we are not bulletproof, their are things that we can do proactively to prevent some of the nasties above from occurring. Firstly, eating well! A healthy, predominantly whole foods, balanced diet, capturing all the major vitamins and minerals will keep the body in an optimum and robust state. However, aside from diet, there's another way. Yep, it's those essential oils again! Taking as natural and approach as we can, our kiddos (20mths + 4yrs) go to school or to the childminder with a few essentials: DIY dōTERRA OnGuard hand sanitizer spray for germ free hands and surfaces. A DIY Lice Spray is used over the hair, shoulders, schoolbag to avoid those wee pesky lice grabbing on. Pre-diluted rollerballs are used daily on the feet to boost the immune system preventing any potential cold or flu outbreak. IF we hear a cough, or see a runny nose, then the dōTERRA Breathe Blend (like a natural Vick's) applied to the chest or feet helps clear the airways. For any tummy upset or sickness we reach for the dōTERRA DigestZen which is a digestive blend helping the tummy return to a state of normal. As they say, no matter the problem, 'there's and oil for that'!
So there you have it. The key is preparation, and what you extract will be what suits you and your family. Getting the best out of this school year is the goal and if making life a little easier for all along the way helps, then I truly encourage you to plan and prepare your blessed cotton little socks off! My guess is that everyone will be better served, and it will bring you closer together. Happy planning!