The term “back-to-school” can trigger many feelings, some bad and some good, in both adults and children alike. From being bombarded in stores and while watching TV to back-to-school nights and meet the teacher meetings, this can be an overwhelming time for many families. How can you embrace the season without the stress?

Here are 5 ways to support your family’s mental health while navigating the back-to-school chaos:

1. Build a routine
Getting back into the swing of having a set schedule and time to be everywhere can take time and extra patience. Start out by adjusting your child’s routine before school begins – re-introduce bedtimes and start waking them up at the time they will need to be up for school. Talk about homework, practice times, dinner schedules and downtime. Don’t forget to set aside time for re-connecting and give both yourself and your child an extra dose of patience as you all readjust to the school schedule.

2. Create a time to talk to each other
Back-to-school times can be exciting and busy, which is why it’s even more important to set aside time to really talk to each other. Encouragement and conversation can mean the difference between a successful start to the school year and major meltdowns. Don’t underestimate those check-ins.

3. Model healthy habits
Children are always paying attention to the way the adults in their lives handle challenging times. Keep in mind that you’re modeling behaviors, so coping with the stresses that can come with back-to-school in a healthy way can help teach your child to do the same. Try healthy habits like exercising regularly, eating healthy and practicing relaxation techniques to help you take care of your mental health and set a positive example for your children.

4. Planning and preparation
Incorporating a Sunday planning session before the week begins can eliminate unknowns and set you on a path to a less stressful week. Calendars, checklists, apps and more can really get you organized and keep you and your children on track for what needs to happen each day. Don’t forget to include some fun things to look forward to and special family days throughout your planning!

5.Take time for self-care
Both adults and kids can benefit from doing a few “self-care” practices throughout the day and/or week. What do you love to do? Incorporating those things can improve your mood and your stress levels. Whether it’s taking time to tend to your garden, listen to your favorite podcast, make a special meal, ride your new bike, or dig into that book you’ve been wanting to read, self-care is self love.

Back to School: 5 Ways to Support Your Family’s Mental Health