It has been a fantastic summer so far! By now most of our students have been on at least one getaway, visited extended family, and spent some quality time with the sun and the water. Although we may not want to accept it summer is quickly coming to an end.

In just a couple weeks our children will be going back to school. Back to school time can be an incredibly stressful time for both students and parents. However, with a few simple steps you can help your child enter the school year ready to learn and eliminate the stress on yourself in the process.

Most of the stress of returning to school is associated with a sudden change of routine. Over the summer most of our children have no routine. So when we attempt to reestablish one it is met with mental and emotional resistance. However, as the school year approaches, it’s essential to recognize the significance of establishing a well-rounded routine for students. A comprehensive routine not only involves regular martial arts training but also encompasses other vital aspects such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and limiting screen time. By incorporating these elements, we can equip children with the tools necessary to minimize stress, enhance focus, and optimize their overall well-being. Here are three simple hacks to make your return to school stress-free!

  1. Sleep Routine

The foundation of a successful day begins with a good night’s sleep. Prioritizing a consistent sleep routine, with a focus on early bedtimes and early rising, is crucial for students’ overall well-being and academic performance. Sufficient sleep improves cognitive function, memory retention, and problem-solving abilities. By aligning their sleep schedule with the demands of the school day, children can wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old “8 hours of sleep” is what you need, and while this may be true for adults, all children under age 18 require over 10 hours of sleep each day for their developing bodies and minds. To figure out when your child should go to bed simply add 2 to the hour they need to wake up. For example, if your child needs to wake at 6am then add 2 and they should go to bed at 8pm. If they need to wake at 7:30 then after adding two they should go to sleep around 9:30. Then be sure to go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time every day; yes, including weekends. Our bodies don’t realize the difference in the work/school week and the weeked, but instead respond to consistency.

2. Limited Screen Time

In addition to establishing a bedtime routine, limiting screen time is an integral part of cultivating a healthy routine for students. Excessive exposure to screens, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns and negatively impact cognitive performance. By setting boundaries on screen time and encouraging alternative activities such as martial arts training, children can enhance their focus, concentration, and creativity. Multiple studies have shown that exposure to blue light, the light most common in our electronic devices, can negatively affect sleep patterns. Not only does blue light exposure make it more difficult to fall asleep it has been shown to also reduce the quality of sleep. As a general rule children should not use any screens for two hours before bed. Try banning screen time after dinner and instead encourage reading or creative play.

3. Consistent Martial Arts Training

Finally, Martial arts not only provides physical exercise but also engages the mind, promoting mental sharpness and cognitive development. Regular martial arts training plays a pivotal role in maintaining physical fitness and fostering mental well-being. However, to optimize the benefits, it’s crucial to strike a balance between physical activity, rest, and recovery. Incorporating structured martial arts classes into the routine provides an outlet for energy expenditure, promotes physical strength, coordination, and flexibility, and reduces stress. By engaging in regular exercise while adhering to a proper sleep routine, students can achieve a harmonious equilibrium between physical fitness and mental well-being.

Both martial arts training and a consistent sleep routine instill self-discipline and time management skills in students. By adhering to a set schedule, children learn the importance of planning, prioritizing, and allocating their time effectively. These valuable skills transfer to their academic endeavors, empowering them to manage their responsibilities efficiently, meet deadlines, and strike a balance between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and personal time.

None of this is new to you as a parent. Where most of us go wrong is that we start establishing these routines too late. Most parents begin 2-5 days before school starts. However, it is widely recognized that it takes 21 days to create a habitual behavior. That means that you must start NOW. This will allow the stress of the new routine to be overcome by the time the stress of school begins. Obviously our children respond better when we limit the amount of stress they are under, and by the way so do you!

A holistic routine nurtures emotional resilience and well-being. Regular physical activity, adequate rest, and reduced exposure to screens contribute to stress reduction and improved mood. Let’s embrace the upcoming school year with a well-rounded routine that prioritizes martial arts, a healthy sleep pattern, and responsible screen time usage. Together, we can empower students to achieve academic excellence while nurturing their holistic growth and development.