A new school year is full of anticipation and possibilities. It also comes with uncertainty and various emotions as children and families enter the new year. Ups and downs are a natural part of day-to-day life. People who are resilient use strategies to cope with constant changes and rebound quicker from setbacks. Being optimistic about future events and getting a challenging day back on track are examples of resilience. As we enter a new school year, parents and caregivers can help children create habits to be resilient. It all starts by building a connection between the school and the family.
According to Toolkit for Schools: Engaging Parents to Support Student Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being | Healthy Schools | CDC (2022), school connectedness refers to how students feel valued, supported, and engaged in their school environment. For children, this means a sense of belonging, positive relationships with peers and teachers, and a feeling of being a part of the school community. The research shows that when parents/caregivers are engaged in their children’s school activities, children have better grades, healthier behavior choices, and better social skills.
So, what does parent/caregiver engagement look like? The place of school connectedness for families begins at home. When families create routines supporting school responsibilities, this shows value and interest.
School Connection Tips for Parents/Caregivers:
There will be times when life is feeling stressful. Technology can be an excellent tool to support learning healthy skills and support physical and mental well-being. Using apps should not be a substitute for seeking professional help.
Also, if your child is stressed with school assignments, contact the teacher to see what support is available. Some school districts have apps for middle and high school children to manage course schedules and assignments. Connect with the school, and if one is used, follow up with your child to ensure they know how to use it or ask them to show you how it works!
Technology is a great tool, but it can be overwhelming to sift through all the resources. Below is a list of technology Apps for the entire family's relaxation, stress management, and movement (15 Mindfulness & Relaxation Apps for Kids with Anxiety (Excerpt from Parenting Chaos.com), 2018).
If you try one, let us know how it went!
Breathe, Think Do with Sesame: For parents and caregivers to use with children ages 2-5.
Positive Penguins: Helps you understand feelings and navigate negative thoughts.
Calm: Sleep, meditation, and relaxation techniques for adults and a section geared for children
DreamyKid: For all ages. Mindfulness strategies for young children and teens. Guided mediation, positive visualization techniques, and sleep stories are just a few categories.
Insight Timer: Check in with your feelings along with guided meditations.
Breathing Bubbles: Practice releasing worries and focusing on feelings.
Calm Counter: Helps you calm down when you are anxious or worried. Also included is a social story (define social story).
Relax Melodies: Relaxing background sounds
Written by Sheri
Toolkit for Schools: Engaging Parents to Support Student Mental Health and Emotional Well-being | Healthy Schools | CDC. (2022, September 2). Www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/connectedness/connectedness_toolkit.htm
15 Mindfulness & Relaxation Apps for Kids with Anxiety (excerpt from Parenting Chaos.com). (2018, January 10). Kidevolve. http://www.kidevolve.com/blog/2018/1/10/15-mindfulness-relaxation-apps-for-kids-with-anxiety-parenting-chaos