New challenges await us this back-to-school season. With many caregivers working from home, working part-time, or not working at all, and with many kids learning online, learning at school with new restrictions, or following a hybrid model, it’s a whole new frontier.
As always, new routines bring new ways of managing our mental, social, and physical wellbeing. In this article, we offer tips for each.
5 Ways to Improve Overall Well-Being
The Jury’s out on whether this time is more challenging for kids or adults. Children are quite resilient but these restrictions are especially challenging if they crave social interaction and physical contact. The tips below are geared at helping children and teens adjust but certainly apply to us grownups as well.
Put mental health first
In order to feel mentally grounded, it’s important that children feel warmth and support at home. Caregivers can help by asking questions like What did you learn today? or Name 2 peaks and valleys from the day. Adults can also help mental wellbeing by expressing enthusiasm during brain breaks and transition times. It’s a great opportunity for you to also take a brain break and switch tasks.
All the social butterflies out there – children and adults, alike – are struggling with less in-person human interaction. For social wellbeing, it’s important to find healthy, safe ways to see friends in person. It’s also important that children have interactions with other adults that aren’t their parents (especially for teens). As a caregiver, communicate the importance of keeping friends safe by wearing a mask and keeping distance. Some activity ideas we’ve seen out there: Distanced bike rides, outdoor games, and book clubs, regular video chat dates, or online game time. With winter soon settling in for us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s important to find ways to keep prioritizing these social activities. As long as it’s not raining, many children will be happy to play outside so layer up!
Routine... what’s that? Now that school is “back in session” for most of the world, we are finding some semblance of routine. Even if you’re not commuting to and from school or work, it’s important to maintain a solid sleep and morning routine to feel energized and motivated. Other ways to keep a routine is by investing in a chalkboard or whiteboard to list the day’s agenda or priorities. Another trick we love is changing spaces between subjects or tasks, i.e. moving from the desk to the standing bar top or dining table. This change in “scenery” could help boost creativity and improve focus. If you can’t change spaces, think about getting up for a walk between tasks or rearranging your space by changing notebooks, bringing in a fresh pitcher of water, or lighting a candle.
This, as you might predict, is one of our favorites. If you’re a caregiver with school children at home, make time to move together. It’s the perfect excuse to bring “recess” back into our lives. Our head of design told us, “We usually do workouts together mid-morning. Since my son is super active, we always go for the boxing workouts in the 8fit app and then do around 30 minutes of dancing again after nap time.”
Workouts your kids might love:
10-minute boxing workout
How about a weekly retrospective? Given the new challenges of the school year, it’s important to check in regularly. Ask your kids, What’s working? What’s not working? How can we make next week more fun? Do you need anything to be more focused? This is also an opportunity for you to weigh in. Be teammates in this “new normal.”