August 2022 | Back to School

Page 22

Supporting Your Family Heading Back to School

ARTICLE AND PHOTOS BY JESSICA CARTWRIGHT

Create safe, open spaces for sharing Sitting down together every night for dinner as a family is such a beautiful way to connect with each other. I find my daughter will open up when we’re playing together (coloring, Legos, etc.) or cuddling together. When I know she’s going through something, I try not to force her to talk about it. Instead, I let her know I’m listening and get down to her level to be with her. Often things will just come out that I can tell have been on her mind or weighing heavy on her.

Transitions. Dang, they can be tough! And they also tend to demand more grace and patience than we expect. Make that tenfold for our little ones. While heading back to school can be a welcome, fun and exciting time, it is definitely one of the biggest transitions of the year for families. Following are some tips I’ve learned as a mom, family yoga instructor, Ayurvedic Women’s Health Specialist and human. Read on to learn how to keep your littles (and yourself) healthy and welladjusted during times of shift. Buffer in loads of downtime This one is huge. As my daughter enters first grade this coming fall, I am planning an entire month full of downtime. Minimal commitments means we have the chance to go with the flow and see what our energy levels are. I find my daughter really needs oodles of at-home time to decompress after a lot of "newness." It’s really important so that we can process these big experiences and assimilate the lessons, without always carrying the load. I encourage you to add downtime into your schedule, actually mark it in! Whether it’s every afternoon, or some afternoons and one weekend morning a month. Just prepare for it and be easy on yourself. 22

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Invite your child to share something sweet and sour about their day I learned this from our kids' yoga teacher, Ms. Deneen. She has the elementary kids share something really good about their day and something not so good. Oftentimes these kids will really open up in such beautiful, unexpected ways. Sometimes tears or laughter. It’s remarkable what happens when kids have a chance to share safely. Sweet and sour is a great prompt without expecting much, and it usually works better than “How was your day?” or “What did you do today?” We try to do this every night at dinner and all share something. Expect meltdowns Help kids to name their emotions. When my daughter was a toddler, we used the Generation Mindful Time in Toolkit and it worked wonders. You can practice by naming strong emotions you feel, and sharing what you’re doing to support that emotion. A hug, a good cry, deep breaths, screaming into a pillow. Show kids their emotions are OK and better out (in a safe, supported way) than stuck in. Create nourishing sensory experiences We all need a sensory relief after things that are highly stimulating. Maybe for you it’s curling up under a cozy blanket with a warm cup of tea. My daughter loves to partake in my favorite daily rituals: smudging ourselves after soaking up other people’s energy all day, pulling a goddess card, etc. It could also look like an Epsom salt soak with lavender, laying in the sunshine, listening to calming music when you get home, or applying some essential oils before bed. Try to invite in the senses in soothing ways.