Month: August 2021

August 2, 2021
children

IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!

Amidst a global pandemic, you and your children will transition AGAIN to a different way of schooling. No doubt you’ve learned a certain sense of resiliency over the last year and a half, but it has come at a cost…

never have we been more aware of the state of

OUR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH.

If you are worried about whether your child is in distress, pay attention to their behavior (a common indicator of how children are feeling when they don’t have the words to describe it).

Look for changes in:

  • their diet
  • social skills
  • sleep habits
  • their ability to self-regulate
  • finding meaning and purpose in life
  • family relationships

RESOURCE: Mental Health for the Whole Child by Scott M. Shannon

The Wholeness Center provides you with the best mental health resources for both you and your children.

Here is A LIST OF WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL HEALTH as they move into a new year of learning…whatever that looks like for your family.

  1. CREATE RITUALS AND ROUTINES: One benefit of going back to school is that it creates a sense of structure and normalcy to your child’s day. It is comforting to know what will come next. When the rest of the world feels a bit chaotic, predictability is grounding.

You can add rituals around the routine of school. Here are some examples:

  • Make their favorite breakfast food on Wednesday mornings.
  • Try letting your kids pick the music in the car ride to/ from school.
  • After dinner do the dishes as a family.
  • At bedtime, read together – even with your older kids
  1. OFFER NUTRITIOUS OPTIONS: Back to school means changes in routines…and new routines likely mean a change in eating schedule or habits. Regardless of this change, try to make healthy, regularly-scheduled meals a priority. 

Another thing to keep in mind, kids’ brains are constantly developing and they need good fats to support this growth. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential – you can get these from fish and seafood, but also plant-based sources like nuts and seeds are great (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are tasty additions to smoothies, oatmeal or muffins). Or try different nut and seed butters (cashew, macadamia nut, almond, sunflower seed, etc.)

  1. FOCUS ON MOVEMENT: With schools opening back up, it’s a great time to break the “technology trance” and get your kids moving again. Follow your child’s lead and suggest activities that they are likely to enjoy, perhaps incorporating music or making up a game.

Develop a routine and consider the use of rewards if you hit resistance. This can be a lot easier if you get the whole family involved. You might start a new tradition of taking a walk around the neighborhood after dinner, or dancing to YouTube videos for 10 minutes every morning.

With some creativity and patience, you can help your child create healthy exercise habits that support them both mentally and physically.

  1. PRACTICE HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS: Working through the pain points of helping your child sleep well can be one of the hardest, but most rewarding gifts you can give them and yourself. Children need quality sleep for proper growth, development, and functionality during the day.

Sleep goes beyond helping them build strong bodies; It is responsible for a healthy immune system and neuro functioning including: mood, concentration, disposition, and regulating their metabolism.

Here are some suggestions for making sleep a peaceful time for children to rest and restore:

Create a sleep environment that feels safe. Night lights and sound machines can be so helpful (and they travel well).

Keep their bedroom dark and cool at night. Blackout blinds work wonders!

Turn off your electronics at night.  Do not allow cell phones or tablets in the bedroom. Electronics disrupt the circadian rhythms that affect sleep.

NOTE: Children aged 3-5 years need 11-13 hours of sleep, aged 5-10 years 10-11 hours of sleep, aged 10-17 years 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep per night.

We know how hard the last year has been and we are with you as you help your children navigate new terrain.

Please contact the Wholeness Center if you have questions about integrative medicine, and/ or mental health assistance. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs the Wholeness Center has to offer, please call 970-221-1106 or email info@wholeness.com.

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