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How parents can help children ease into the school year

See what triggers anxiety with kids and back to school. Also find tips to help ease their stress

Author and mindfulness expert Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego.

In Julie's new book "Life Falls Apart, But You Don't Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos", she shares methods she learned from her personal journey with her readers. 

Julie Potiker’s Tips for Back to School:

1) Visit the school with your child
Walk the halls and into the classroom. Familiarity can help calm the jitters.

2) Talk to your kids about their feelings: R.A.I.N.
Once they label the emotion, the thinking brain becomes engaged and calms your system down. Read this article on putting a stop to spreading anxiety.

  • Recognize 
  • Allow 
  • Investigate 
  • Nurture 

3) Read books on calming back to school jitters
Read terrific books for calming back-to-school jitters for kids of all ages. See Hands to Heart: Breathe and Bend with Animal Friends

For older kids, they might enjoy understanding brain science. If they control their thoughts, they can influence how they feel. Julie Potiker recommends Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Dr. Dan Siegel

4) School supply shopping
Have school supplies shopping be a shared experience, and depending on the age of the child, allow them to create their own system of organization.

5) Practice deep breathing
Practice deep breathing to calm down your nervous system. In for 4, out for 6. Practice at night, in the morning, in the classroom, before a test, etc.

For young kids, Elmo, Cobbie Caillat and Common:

For teens and adults:

6) Focus on an object
Focus on an object to shift the mind from worrying thoughts – Here and now stone, or for younger kids squishy toys.

7) Focus on gratitude
This will help all year. You can’t be grateful and worried at the same time. Little kids can decorate a gratitude jar, older kids can journal.

8) Learn to meditate
Family meditation time. Use the free app, Insight Timer.

9) Manage your own anxiety!
Use the mindful methods in Julie's book, and use the Mindful Self Compassion Workbook. Julie Potiker recommends Life Falls Apart, But You Don't Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos

10) Have clothes picked out the night before
The night before, have everything packed and laid out – even the socks and shoes, to avoid last minute drama.

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